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Deplorable, despite Ukraine war IAEA is irrationally advocating on N-power

Shankar Sharma, Power & Climate Policy Analyst, writes to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, France

This has reference to a few statements recently attributed to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), France, as in the news links below, in the context of COP27.
It is deplorable that even the troubling situation of a war is not missed by IAEA as an opportunity to continue with its irrational advocacy on nuclear power. All sections of the global society, who can think rationally, would have expected IAEA to take a diligent view of the calamitous situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine from the overall welfare perspective, and to take a realistic and extremely cautionary approach to the very idea of nuclear power plants, including the desirability of safely decommissioning the operating nuclear power plants. But sadly, IAEA seems to be not equipped/ inclined to consider the overall welfare of the global communities.
When we take a holistic view of the nuclear power industry during the last 60-70 years, it should not be difficult for us to empathise with those who may think that IAEA is illogically and unethically favouring the business interests of a few private business entities at the cost of enormous risks/ impacts to the global societies. As an organ of the UN, IAEA should have at the centre of its focus, only the true welfare of the global communities. But the fact that IAEA has not cared to provide any kind of substantiation to its continued policy of irrational advocacy on nuclear power plants even as late as Nov. 2022, and the fact that it has not bothered to provide clarification on any of the global level concerns expressed by many civil society groups, including my earlier emails, may indicate that it has moved away from the true welfare objectives of the UN.
Instead of giving timid kind of interview to few gullible reporters, who may not have any basic knowledge of the nuclear power sector, or who are not bold enough to ask searching and credible questions, IAEA should deem it as an institutional obligation to provide satisfactory explanation to all the concerns expressed by global communities w.r.t the true relevance of nuclear power. IAEA should undertake a thorough review of its irrational advocacy on nuclear power before one or more unfortunate nuclear accidents can devastate the global society.
Even without any such accidents, the true economic costs of establishing and safely operating nuclear power plants to the poor communities such as in India, other parts of Asia and Africa must not be ignored by IAEA. It should come up with detailed analysis of the overall costs/ risks/ impacts of nuclear power plants as compared to renewable energy sources, and explain how it can guarantee that the kind of nuclear disasters which have impacted the people around Chrnobyl and Fukushima will not impact other communities. It must also explain how it will strive to prevent the calamitous situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant occuring at other nuclear power plants. Any unfortunate nuclear power reactor accident can set back most of the smaller economies by a few decades, which cannot be acceptable in any scenario.
Two serious questions that IAEA should satisfactorily address are: can it prove beyond reasonable doubt that nuclear power is the cheapest source of electricity on a sustainable basis for every country; can it stand guarantee to the affected communities to ensure adequate compensation for all the direct/ indirect costs arising out of any unfortunate nuclear accidents. In view of the unacceptably high and growing costs of nuclear power sector, IAEA's continued advocacy on nuclear power will lead to diversion of funds from the much needed development/ deployment of renewable energy sources.
Without such satisfactory explanations behind its continued advocacy on nuclear power, IAEA may be seen as causing humongous economic damage to the affected global communities, and hence rendering a great dis-service to humanity.
May I urge IAEA to undertake a serious introspection in this regard?



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