Nuclear energy and its benefits, in the present era, have become a concept of the commoner. The environmentalists around the world hold that nuclear energy is clean and green. It has almost zero emissions, longevity, higher productivity, cost effective and available. But, no one really knows the harms associated to the giant ruthless nuclear power plants, when they burst and give you the miseries for a life time.
One does not look at the other side of the picture, unless one is sensitized to an issue, which is imperative, especially when it comes to one’s survival. And nuclear plants are one such case, which needs to be paid a good deal of importance. The latest and thought provoking idea that made me to write about this issue, is my exposure to one of the Greenpeace Canada Environment campaign on nuclear energy.
The very thought which says “No Nukes are Safe!” left me with the idea crawling into my mind, that if Canada, being one of the most developed nations of the world, negates the idea of nuclear energy, then how could Pakistan be so indifferent to it. And Pakistan is not only at the verge of developing alternate energy resources, but it maintains a legacy of Nuclear Plant, located very close to the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad the capital, the Kahuta Nuclear Plant. Being a true patriot and responsible citizen of the state, there were hundreds of questions which bombard my mind when I thought, what is going to be the future of Kahuta, and its neighboring cities, if someday, the nuclear plant bursts? Learning all our lessons from the past Chernobyl and the latest Fukushima nuclear plants, each of us would think, who is next? Never did any of them have any war, no attacks, no shells or missiles, but still they busted! Why? They also had the same reasons, to which Pakistan is also much susceptible.
The older a plant gets, the more are its chances for system failure, in some cases the age might not even matter, there could be chemical imbalances, internal overheating, or power output surges, as happened in the case of Chernobyl, 500,000 workers gave up on their lives and the catastrophe cost was estimated at 18 billion rubles. Followed by Chernobyl, Fukushima disaster is another which can teach us even more evident and eye opening lessons. It was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
This is the largest nuclear disaster, since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. Fukhishima, a city of Japan, a country which has a long history of Tsunami happenings, one of the most developed regions of the world, fully fledged, and prepared for several levels higher on Richter scale, than what Pakistan is, encountered this disaster. Then how could we be so over confident, and overlook the fact that the epicenter for all the past earthquakes and aftershocks lied just a few kilometers away in Muzzafarabad. Keeping in mind the geological position of Pakistan, the past hit of a disastrous earthquake, and the constantly instable tectonic plates, do we still favor nukes? This sounds an insensible idea. The questions that arise out of the situation is, how much are we prepared to deal with the disaster? How many kilometers from the base nuclear plant, are insured for disaster management? What makes us to call Nukes to be the “Arms for peace”, when they are too unpredictable to destruct all forms of peace, regardless of the times of no war?