When towards the end of the Second World War the first atomic bomb blasted out of existence the peaceful and prosperous city of Hiroshima, and (6th August, 1945) without warning, the conscience of the world was stirred to its depth.
Since then the nightmare of the holocaust has been growing. More diabolic application of atomic power—in the form of nuclear weapons with incalculable powers of destruction—still poses a gruesome threat to the entire human civilization, though gradual destruction of nuclear bombs has been accepted by the UNO The full implications of the broadcast message to the world by the great Scientist—Albert Einstein in his last words to the conscience of scientists should be understood.
When Einstein was asked what weapons would be used in the next, i.e. third World War, the great scientist replied “the Fourth World War will be fought with stones and sticks.”
When “Atoms for Peace” Conference opened at Geneva, it seemed that we are on the threshold of a new era of world development. Scientists outlined plans to utilise atomic power for human welfare.
Pandit Nehru was shown in Soviet Russia big plants worked by atomic power. Similar experiments are going on in other countries, while politicians are meeting with the purpose of banning not merely atomic war, but war of all kinds. It is fitting that scientists should collaborate in pooling their brains for discovering all ways and means for the use of atomic power for peaceful purposes.
The need for the use of atomic power is, indeed, great. As the Chairman, of the Atomic Energy Conference Dr. Bhaba pointed out—the natural fuel resources of the world, the chief sources of power so long,—are fast dwindling. The tremendous growth of world population,—in geometrical progression,—and the increasing consumption of fuel have posed a serious problem. Modern industrial civilisation would be destroyed for want of fuel alone. Thus discovery of atomic energy offers a solution of this problem that would last for an indefinite period.
N. F. T.
Man must set himself to the task of utilising atomic power in order to maintain a uniform and material progress at level throughout the world. The primary duty of the scientists of the world today is, therefore, to co-operate for the total good of humanity. Dr. Bhaba declared, “In this matter our responsibility to humanity transcends our allegiance to any State.”
The need for using atomic power for peaceful ends is not less pressing in India. India has to explore her uranium and thorium resources and harness them for the production of Atomic Power, Plutonium power. India has already set up in the past decades a few atomic stations such as at Tarapore, Kalapakkam (Tamilnadu), Rudrasagar (Rajasthan) etc. which produce enriched or pure nuclear fuel. “Such stations have been economically located in areas of the country remote from coal-fields where there is an urgent demand for power which cannot be met in time from hydro-electric sources” (Bhava).
The advantages of using nuclear power are manifest. Coal belt is confined to particular areas and have to be mined and transported at a great cost. Hydro-electric power necessitates the construction of storage dams that not only involve huge cost but displacement of large population as has been done for erecting the Narmada dam. But a nuclear station can be set up almost at any place (with facilities for turning heavy water). The capital expenditure for setting up these stations would be great indeed, but the subsequent cost is comparatively minor. The secrecy that was used to be maintained over atomic discoveries in war-time is no longer required. This makes international co-operation more practicable. But such stations should be set up in safer zones—in areas far away from inhabited localities, to avoid distress that overtook at Chernabil in former Soviet Union and California in USA.
As Chairman of the Geneva Conference, Dr. Bhava, predicted: “a method will be found for liberating fusion energy in a controlled manner within the next decades.” “While that happens, the energy problem of the world would have been truly solved forever, for the fuel will be as plentiful as the heavy hydrogen in the world.” The atomic age will see a total abolition of war and an era of peaceful co-existence based on uniform prosperity for all parts of the world.