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Exploration of Nuclear Energy: A Necessity

The uproar over two nuclear plants in the city is misguided. Not many know the wonders of a nuclear fission.

Nuclear energy is created when an atom of Uranium is split into two. This releases tremendous amount of energy. About 60,000,000 more than when a carbon atom burns.

Energy production in Pakistan relies heavily on thermal power plants. Pakistan does not produce coal, so all of it has to be imported. Energy imports eat up half of what is earned from exports.

On Monday, I attended an event hosted by nuclear scientists. From what I learnt I was convinced that if anything, a nuclear power plant in the city was a necessity.

Pakistan’s energy needs are growing every year, so by 2035, they will increase by 73 percent.There are huge energy deficits in the city. That is why summers in Karachi can get a tad bit difficult. Newspapers and news channels are filled with stories about a circular debt that K-Electric is in, and the numerous protests and roadblocks by agitated citizens that follow.  The reason behind all this is the inability of our power plants to pay oil companies for raw materials and oil companies in turn are unable to pay for electricity.  In short things are quickly heading towards quite a serious challenge.

All of this can be easily fixed. Once fully functional, two nuclear power plants in the city promise to produce 2200 MW. This means no load shedding in the summers.

Furthermore, nuclear power plants are energy efficient. They work at 80 percent of their capacity. So once the initial cost of construction is over they produce electricity that is cheap and affordable.

The fact that nuclear power plants do not produce harmful greenhouse gases is something everyone should consider seeing how disastrous global warming can be. The heat produced by the plants can be used to desalinate water. In fact that is already being done at KANUPP, the forty year old power plant by the sea in Karachi. Every aspect of a nuclear power plant comes with its own series of pros that give it precedent over conventional power plants.

While misconceptions about the nuclear energy rage on, people need to understand that generating electricity from nuclear power and using it to create a bomb are two extremely separate things. A bomb is for destruction. Nuclear energy for electricity brings prosperity by not just improving lives, but also by saving money in an already expensive to live in world.

With all this reasoning, it is safe to say the negative reaction to the setting up of nuclear power plants  is unfair. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission is not handling a power plant for the first time. Pakistan has three, and there hasn’t been a single episode of negligence or mishandling. The best scientists at the top of their game are selected and chosen for the job who have spent years and years on research and planning. And this time around, Pakistan also has help from the Chinese, our most trusted neighbours, who have offered to invest and provide guidance in any way possible.

A power plant in the city will generate 10,000 jobs. It will improve lives of the coastal communities that are still living in thatched roof huts and have no access to the basic facilities every citizen deserves.

Concern over the radiation for communities living around is far-fetched. Uranium is not kept in an open container. It is stored properly in multiple 1.5 meter thick metal walls. That is being done at KANUPP.

While other means of generating electricity do exist, they however are not without their cons. For instance the world is fast running out of raw material to run these plants. The stores of oil and coal are depleting fast and with the population growing like it is, it becomes imperative to find other means of generating power so that everyone is able to benefit from it.

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