Saying no to nuclear

Sir: Your editorial titled, “Saying no to nuclear” (Daily Times, February 5, 2014) was ambiguous whether we should have more nuclear power plants in the country.
The editorial argued that if the government proves the ability to handle nuclear power plants responsibly, the resource could become a meaningful addition to the alternative energy sources. Pakistan’s forty-year history of operating nuclear power plants safely and efficiently, despite all the hurdles, is enough to prove its capability in the field.
The accident at Fukushima had been mentioned as a case study. It should be kept in mind that the radioactive spillover from the reactors did not claim a single life in Japan. Neither is there any report of people getting sick so far. A recent study by the World Health Organization has concluded that there is a remote chance of any person getting cancer due to the radiation. This also shows that reports regarding radiation inflicting health problems have been exaggerated. The nuclear industry operates on the principle of vigilance and alertness. Complacency is never allowed to set in. The Fukushima accident has become a test case for the nuclear industry. Safety measures that had been missing, and could have prevented such colossal damage, would be added to new plants. All these layers of safety are incorporated in the K-2/K-3 plant design, to minimise the chance of accidents. 
An emergency management plan for any eventuality is always duly approved by the local, provincial and national authorities for nuclear power plants, which is then regularly tested periodically. The preliminary safety plan has been prepared for the new plants as well. This plan will be revised to adjust for changes in the environment and in technology. We hope that misinformation and unnecessary fears would not be allowed to stand in the way of providing the nation a much needed safe and economical source of energy.
Shahid Riaz Khan
Director SI&PR, PAEC,

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