After the Hiroshima catastrophe, other countries are re-evaluating nuclear energy. Germany has decided to shut all its nuclear plants and maximize alternate energy. We need to exercise caution in planning to add 40,000MW of nuclear power – with its inherent hazards and very high cost. USD10 billion for 2200MW is too expensive – about three times as much as a hydroelectric power station of the same size. Also to be considered is the equally high decommissioning cost. The nuclear fuel has also to be imported.

We face this energy crisis because we have for decades criminally ignored our vast hydroelectric potential of 60,000MW. The preferred path for abundant and affordable electricity is hydroelectricity. The government is rightly prioritizing the Diamer-Bhasha project. This project should be undertaken immediately. With the addition of Dasu and Bunji about 16,000MW will be added. With these three and nine other identified projects we will have over 44,000MW. Dozens of other hydel projects are also ready for implementation. No other form of electricity can compete with hydel power. It is the cheapest and cleanest form of energy.

Imtiaz Ali Qazilbash,

Islamabad, December 6.