Since the day of 6th August 1945 a danger that spreads across the world. There are favourable or unfavourable arguments against that derived out of individual’s pros and cons.
The logic that everybody’s willing to share is either self-defence or retaliating power in the event of foe’s attacks over them.
Still to date more than 40 countries are trying their best to acquire nuclear weapons either by rightful means, smuggling out or secretly outsource the know-how from the successful partners.
Across the world from Asia to Oceania dozens aspire for nuclear energy-cum plutonium gained enrichment programmes without worrying about cost, health or environmental damages that may accrue subsequently.
Once it was a privilege to have a nuke and slowly commercial interests and geo-political circumstances paved way for such experiments by others.
The post-war developments led to fast growing countries to acquire new power/weapon systems though it costs much.
Japan, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and dozen others engaged with clean and sustainable fuel programme to meet rising power consumption. The objective is outspoken, however, the clandestine operation is to produce weapons that target destruction on their ‘enemies.’
Mutual regional rivalries stimulate countries to engage in the enrichment programme despite regulations posed by international bodies and agreements such as IAEA and NPT. Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) created to control spread of nuclear arms race. Later, CTBT replaced NPT to contain nuclear menace. However, several tests were made after the NPT by the superpowers themselves. Therefore, NPT was rejected by countries like India as lopsided as against the interests of new independent countries. These countries on the other hand have to relay on superpowers for necessary technologies to enrich raw materials. India for example first got US assistance for first nuclear power station at Tarapore. Later Canada, Germany, Soviet Union followed to help her to attain supremacy in the field. Beyond all India reached the commanding position with indigenization and hard work of its scientists in both nuclear and missile technology to launch the warheads.
The spread since WW-II could be ascertained from a research report published by IAEA as mentioned below:
Statistics issued by the Power Reactor Information System of the International Atomic Energy Agency indicate that in 1999, 436 nuclear power plants operated in 32 countries around the world. Included in this number were 104 plants operating in 30 states in the U.S.
While the U.S. can boast about having the most nuclear power plants, electrical power from this plants provides less than 20% of all power supplied in the U.S. Other countries are much more dependent on nuclear than the U.S. The next figure ranks the per capita supply of nuclear power for the top 15 nuclear power generating countries. For 1999 nuclear energy represented about 75% of total electricity production in France, 58% in Belgium, 47% in Sweden, 43% in South Korea, 38% in Hungary, 36% in Switzerland, 31% in Germany, 36% in Japan, 33% in Finland, 30% in Spain, 29% in the United Kingdom, 20% in the Czech Republic, 19% in the United States,13% in Canada, 5% in Mexico, and 4% in the Netherlands.
Again in 2002 data released by IAEA depicts total reactors category wise and status as follows:
NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS IN OPERATION AND UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 31 DECEMBER 2002 Country Reactors in Operation Reactors under Construction Nuclear Electricity Total Operating Experience Supplied in 2002 to 31 Dec. 2002 No of Total No of Total TW(e).h % of Years Months Units MW(e) Units MW(e) Total
Despite the nuclear power data IAEA also released some comparative figures on economic strengths of the nations involved with projects.
COMPARISON TABLE ON STATISTIC DATA OF YEAR 2002. Population Data Economic Data Energy Dataa Electricity Data Energy Related Ratios Country Population (millions) Pop. dens. (inh/km2) GDP b GDP c per capita Total Consumption d Total Production Net Import Total El. Production e (TW•h) Total El. Capacity (GW(e)) En. Cons. per capita (GJ/cap) Electricity per capita (kW•h/cap) Nuclear/ Total El. (%) Ratio f of Dependency (%)
TABLE II-4. COMPARISON TABLE ON STATISTIC DATA OF YEAR 2002.(CONTINUED) Population Data Economic Data Energy Dataa Electricity Data Energy Related Ratios Country Population (millions) Pop. dens. (inh/km2) GDP b GDP c per capita Total Consumption d Total Production Net Import Total El. Production e (TW•h) Total El. Capacity (GW(e)) En. Cons. per capita (GJ/cap) Electricity per capita (kW•h/cap) Nuclear/ Total El. (%) Ratio f of Dependency (%)
United States of America 291.0 31.1 11025034 37882 100.55 74.60 26.43 3834.52 806.04 345 13175 20 26 Viet Nam 80.3 243.6 35160 438 1.21 1.86 -0.46 27.33 5.38 15 340 0 -38
Every country irrespective of their economic capability aspired for nuclear weapons to boost their politico-military status which in turn increase bargaining position at least at regional level.
The spread threaten regional peace stability and create mutual disbelief in relations among the member nations.
Some of the programme which threat, mostly are by Israel, India-Pakistan, North Korea and South Africa. These nations have single or multiple rivals in their regions and lead to dangerous arms race.
The core problems of poverty, malnutrition, economic growth takes backseat while they believe that nuclear capability would bring more aid resulting with big powers intervention to wipe out ‘mutual threat’ and boost confidence among them. The aid is believed to propagate growth prospects. However, many of them struck with martial rule where there is no counter guarantee to dismantle the programme.
Democracies like India have its own problems with neighbours to show a real threat for its security. The world’s second most populated said to unbelieve soothing words from superpowers to come with terms to either NPT or CTBT.
Any eventual attack based on either provocation or unwarranted should have a retaliatory power/strength, as thought by the new members of the nuke club.
Irrespective of each member’s apprehensions over security in terms of defence and energy, there are other alternatives rather than involving with high risk, disastrous and cost ridden option for nuclear energy.
The main argument posed against saying nuclear energy as clean energy is that the fossil fuel makes environment worse, we are not bothered about power productions since it is not the real issue.
The costs for displacing waste are a great problem for small countries and high awareness oriented societies. Countries like India are thickly populated and have potential threat in the background of mass nuclear waste disposal sites. And too shrinking availability of space is another serious problem.
Considering all the facts together it is highly inadvisable to nuclear either for military or energy security. Instead, countries could engage with meaningful dialogues with neighbours and find natural ways to solve energy/power needs.
Finally, it is better to remember that there are no remedies for nuclear caused accidents or wars. A permanent peace for millions or billions could come with a high cost solution, rather than enjoyable life in the laps greener mother earth!