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A Russian lesson not to miss

world Updated: Apr 28, 2013 23:11 IST
Bharati Chaturvedi
Bharati Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times
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The world has just spent a sombre moment remembering the terrible Chernobyl nuclear disaster on its twenty-sixth anniversary.

The most important lesson is that nuclear disasters don’t end. They proliferate. Hundreds of children in the region developed illnesses like cancers, seven million people were impacted and the zone permanently contaminated. Food, such as milk, was contaminated, massive amounts of funds invested in relocating people, developing an alternative economy, and curing the ill. Last week, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, reminded the world not to forget the suffering of the impacted persons.

India had better remember these lessons. Already, infants in California are being detected with thyroid cancers from radioactivity that has originated from the Fukushima disaster. No matter how good the systems, accidents are not a hundred percent preventable. Their impacts are global. India already has an unimpressive record of keeping citizens safe, or governing its infrastructure in an confidence-inspiring manner. Besides, nuclear power will, at best, be nine percent of the total, about a quarter of a century from today. It would be better to stop all nuclear expansion, and focus on eliminating nuclear power both through alternatives and through reducing the energy consumption in some non-essential needs, through a basket of relentlessly implemented incentives and policies. That is the one lesson Russian has, inadvertently, to offer the world. Let’s take it seriously.