The South African government’s plan to bulldoze through a nuclear energy deal has been dealt what might be a fatal blow by the Cape Town High court which has declared the plan invalid. It found that the government had not followed due process in making the decision to pursue a nuclear power option, as well as in other critical areas.
Have our rulers decided to place India on the wrong side of history and arrest her social progress? Going by their policy of forcibly promoting nuclear power regardless of its hazards, environmental damage potential, high economic and social costs, and unpopularity, that seems to be the case.
There are 20 nuclear power plants in India, two in Pakistan and plans exist to expand the industry across South Asia; yet there are always multiple risks that exist as a result of the technology that cannot be mitigated.
The Japanese crisis is a wake up call for India, which is currently building of one of the world's largest nuclear power plants at Jaitapur, despite massive popular protest. When such a disaster can occur in an industrially advanced country like Japan, India, whose atomic agency is notorious for its poor safety standards, needs to rethink its nuclear ambitions.
Despite a terrible history with nuclear technology, corporate and state actors try to disconnect these mega disasters from the energy industry in order to "normalise" that which continues threatens our very existance.
The Mayapuri cobalt-60 episode shows Delhi University scientists were reprehensible and proves again that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is too inept, unreliable and compromised to perform its assigned functions. We need another agency.