I have profound respect for former President Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam. However, I am concerned the way he bulldozes concerns by pushing arguments for nuclear energy by merely saying how much Energy it can bring. Sure, none of those villagers, who are protesting are going to oppose the notion of brining in additional 1,000 mW generation per day from each reactor in Kudankulam. They are genuinely concerned about safety and their future. This is now a concern in other developed nations too. Some of the parallels drawn by Mr. APJ to dismiss those concerns are ersatz at best and not helping to dispel doubts in the minds of those people who are on a fast to scrap the project.
What I also found too condescending and deeply regrettable was the feedback from some readers. A majority of them think as though those villagers, who are worried about their future are gullible masses, who know nothing! Many are advising that Tamil translations of the article be provided to them. That's the elitist view that is going to precisely turn those people off.
As Engineers and Scientists, I feel we are not good at Public-Relations. To understand the public's concern and to treat them with utmost respect, by dispelling wrongful notions with abject scientific truths, while remaining brutally honest to our neutral elements of Science, is our calling. When we wear elitist hats, we just turn those people off. We really need to work hard at conveying scientific truths to the general population, without being seen as having a hidden agenda.
That is easier said than accomplished. But, there lies an opportunity that is larger than generating power through nuclear energy!
Within the prescribed limit, I have dropped by $0.02 in the comments section in The Hindu.
"As an Energy Consultant,I am a cautious supporter of Nuclear Energy. While Dr.Kalam's article is edifying, it is disconcerting for several reasons:
1. He is obsessed with economic prosperity while flippant about real nuclear threats.
2. He chastises fearmongering with images of mushroom-clouds of the A-Bomb, while he fearmongers by insinuating foreign nations trying to subjugate India's energy ascendancy! Truth is nations like France & US are eager to earn India's huge nuclear-pie!
3. His cavalier attitude to nuclear safety is evident by equating a realistic threat of a cataclysmic nuclear event with his conjured folklore of first-flight accidents!
4. His deafening silence on terrorist-threats on nuclear plants is chilling, when India is on the seismic belt of terrorism.
5. Equating Japan's ER system to India's is an overstretch.
6. He's stoic on India's huge population density.
7. His dismissive attitude implies he thinks those who have concerns are Luddites.He is not right."
Here is the Op-Ed: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2601471.ece
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, please understand that a power-starved state of Tamil Nadu and its populace crave for power to get out of the draconian power-cuts that have become the norm. So, they too support efforts to add more nuclear power generation methods to the overall mix. However, please don't tout that alone to floccinaucinihilipilificate their valid concerns!Originally blogged by me at http://randzoom.posterous.com/added-my-comments-to-thehindu-on-drapjs-op-ed at RandZoom.