One of India’s top scientists has urged the government to reign in its ambitious plans for nuclear power expansion amid a crippled power infrastructure, the Financial Times reports.
Shri. A. Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, called for a temporary moratorium on commissioning new nuclear power plants until “proper dialogue” is made between the government and the public. India plans to add 26GW of nuclear power to its energy supply over the next eight years. Mr. Gopalakrishnan claimed that the country’s nuclear establishment is ill-suited to manage such expansion, noting that there is little separation between military and civilian nuclear programmes. This he says, is “a culture of intense secrecy”.
Mr. Gopalakrishnan also warned that the government’s secretive nuclear ambitions could backfire. “The problem is a tremendous lack of transparency,” he told the FT.
The scientist’s call comes as unrest escalated around the Kundankulam nuclear power plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Villagers protested on Monday against the loading of enriched uranium in one of the facility’s two 1GW reactors. A protester was killed after police opened fire. Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde blamed the violent protest on “foreign organisations seeking to hinder India’s nuclear ambitions”.