25.6.07

Nuclear Power for Bangladesh?

There was a news report that the emergency government will build a nuclear reactor to meet the appalling shortfall in electricity throughout the country, a problem which emasculates small and medium business and human life, causes riots and is heavily politicised and bureaucratised.
Googling around i found this Daily Star article from 2001, in the last days of the last awami league government. Unless there has been some creativity in the government, we might be forgiven to assume temporarily that what they are talking about a 600MW beast in Isarwardi (developed from a plan in the Ayub Khan period). The IAEA have been over this so its 'halal' by them.
This is an exciting development, one which could inject a little masculinity into the country or ruin a large part of it.
I think of all those highly skilled posts that will be filled by amazing people who up until now have only had a piddly 3 MW research reactor and medical remit to play with. Its mind bending to think that there is a government with some ambition in this department. In my time as a student dinosaur i have met so many brainy deshi physicists, talents destined to advance the human race, but alas not the Bangladeshi one. This is good news in that respect, there may be a destination for some of their genius.
I expect the NGO-development complex will scream and shout against such a plan. Yes, I can see it right now... 'We applaud the governments resolve to address the power crisis, but we wish we were consulted and that there is community participation and gender consideration in this matter.'
yes of course. participatory particle physics!
No seriously, a human being would have to be insane not to urge caution. I want to know what CS Karim's (Physicist, CTG Advisor and ex director of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission) thinking is on the matter.
I realise that;
  • we never really had that much gas in the first place.
  • we never negotiated properly with the companies that game to extract it and that a lot of it has dissipated into the atmosphere while we take ages to do absolutely anything.
  • politicians seized upon the coal issue and exploited it to vent their angst against the government.
  • diversification is a good idea, that CO2 emissions reductions are not a matter for us as the priority is adaptation not mitigation.
  • renewables at present are no good at generating significant amounts in a centralised manner to any degree of unidimensional economic efficiency.
But what i worry is that given successive governments jealous disregard for each others initiatives, that any funding cut, foolish politicisation of the issue or lunacy will lead to great harm. I also cant fathom why the south koreans would consider financing 60% of it.
If the government is going to spend a billion bucks or so on a single project. Is this really the right one? does this mean the Padma Bridge will be delayed? that other infrastructural wounds and hazard mitigation will be dropped for now? Is the bangladesh military able to protect a nuclear reactor? Won't the power development board totally screw the whole thing up?

4 comments:

asif said...

You're against community participation and gender disaggregation? :)

Anonymous said...

http://shahzamanm.blogspot.com/2007/06/say-no-to-nuclear-power-in-bangladesh.html

read the dangers of nuclear technology for Bangladesh.

Fugstar said...

Asif,
What say you to a dose of femenist quantum theory. hmmm. thinking about it think it would be an own goal...e\uncertainty and all that jive.


anonymous,
solar panels? have you ever had the misfortune of having to use them? im not suprised at the contents of the post at all. perhaps deshis just dont know when something is in their own interests? after all.

lets spend our time planting little saplings instead of industrialising. Thats progress.

asif said...

A feminist quantum theory.... eclectic as always fugstar. All joking aside, I'm all for en-gendering social programs (as you may have guessed by now), although in this case it seems utterly ridiculous. Let me know if any (respectable) NGO suggests it and I'll say you've got a valid case against them and their "development-speak"