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by Manu Verghese Mathai
Research Fellow, UNU-IAS
In the aftermath of Fukushima, India has witnessed remarkable public negotiation over the future of atomic energy. While the Government of India remains adamant in its advocacy, communities approached to host new reactors have strongly opposed such plans. Projects at various locations have either been forced to relocate or are being stalled, due to local organization and opposition. For its part, the government remains convinced on the merits of this energy source and a drastic expansion of the country’s nuclear power infrastructure. Among the justifications it has offered, the government promotes nuclear energy as a source of "significant benefits in terms of energy security and environmental benefits, including GHG mitigation".
In the context of squaring social and ecological values with those of the Development project, this presentation considers what the association between atoms and power (understood as the rate of energy transformation as well as the political influence over another entity’s behaviour) means for the Indian government’s justifications. The presentation questions the idea of "green" nuclear energy and concludes with thoughts on energy and technology policy and on international relations, when sustainability and equity are cherished and non-negotiable goals.
|14:30 - 14:35||Opening Remarks|
Govindan Parayil, UN University Vice-Rector and UNU-IAS Director
|14:35 - 15:20||Atoms and Power Post-Rio and -Fukushima: Reflections on the Meaning of Nuclear Energy and Its Implications for India and Beyond|
Manu Verghese Mathai, Research Fellow, UNU-IAS
|15:20 - 16:00||Q&A|
Video and Audio Podcasts
Manu Verghese Mathai is a Research Fellow in the Science and Technology for Sustainable Societies programme at UNU-IAS. Prior to joining UNU-IAS, he was a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Science, Technology, Society and Public Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, USA. His research and teaching interests gravitate around interlinkages between the themes of energy, environment and development, with a focus on science and technology policy and conceptions of human and economic development amenable to sustainability and equality. Deeply interested in change from the dominant unsustainable status quo, he is drawn to the literature on technology, environment and society studies for insights to appreciate power and possibilities for change in society.
Dr. Mathai has researched and critiqued India’s economic development discourse and proposal of civilian nuclear power as a “green” alternative. He has proposed alternative ideas for a sustainable synergy between energy technology, human development, policy tools and institutional arrangements. He has also been an early student of extending the human development and capability approach to address the environmental challenge. Dr. Mathai has also researched environmental and energy justice issues in Wilmington, Delaware (USA); reviewed the global status of solar energy technologies, policies and markets; and researched the effects of human use of dry-deciduous forests in central India on tiger prey species.
He holds a B.Sc. (Environmental Science) from Bangalore University, an M.Sc. (Wildlife Science) from the Wildlife Institute of India, an M.P.M. (International Development and Environmental Policy) from the University of Maryland-College Park and a Ph.D. (Energy and Environmental Policy) from the University of Delaware Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.
Dr. Mathai's awards include the Outstanding Scholar Award from the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, the Young Researcher Award in Human Development and Sustainable Development of the Human Development and Capability Association and Fondazione Lombardia per l'Ambiente and the Save the Tiger Fund Fellowship.
Registration is free and open to the public. For further information, please contact UNU-IAS at unuias[at]ias.unu.edu or 045-221-2300.