These detractors of nuclear energy


AS, for the first time in decades, the country is making some headway in realisation of its dream to increase share of nuclear energy to the national grid, some elements and vested interests continue to try to poison minds of the people on flimsy and imaginary fears and grounds. Propaganda campaign against iconic nuclear projects called K-2 and K-3 was unleashed by some quarters at the very outset and efforts were also made to stall their progress through judiciary but their designs were frustrated when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave go ahead signals for their construction. However, after media reports that there was a proposal to cap nuclear energy, these elements are once again trying to undermine these projects.
There are reasons to believe that a particular lobby is deadly against Pakistan’s nuclear programme – be it of military nature or for peaceful purposes. Their objective is to deny people of Pakistan fruits of modern technology and take measures for self-reliance in security, defence and also ensure its energy security. In fact, these elements are playing into enemy hands and do not represent the will of people of Pakistan. Establishment of nuclear power plants is not an Internet game but a sober business requiring years of meticulous planning covering geology, security and safety aspects. But we must not lose sight of the fact that Pakistan has long experience of safely running nuclear reactors and its safety standards have earned acknowledgement by international nuclear watchdog IAEA. We should also remember that if the country has the capability to man its military nuclear programme, it could definitely manage nuclear power plants. KANUPP and the Chashma nuclear power plants have been operational for the past 45 years and there has been no sign of any leakage of hazardous radiations from these plants. Experts rightly point out that if the nuclear power plants were hazardous, over 105 nuclear power plants would not be operating in the US and 80 such plants in Canada. As for K-2 and K-3, PAEC has conducted many studies of the site to ensure that the plants could survive the largest earthquake and tsunami that can be expected in the region. Before initiation of work, PAEC also carried out extensive impact and environment assessment and came out with a 300-page report. K-2 and K-3, besides adding significant power to the national grid, would also help desalinate 10m gallons of sea water daily, which would help solve the problem of access to safe and clean water by residents of Karachi and therefore, attempts aimed at making them controversial should come to an end.