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April 19, 2019

Electric Power is the Main Driving Force for Industrialization

Thinking in Advance for Better Tomorrow

Modern human cannot survive without energy. We need energy for cooking meals (Sar Yae), producing clothes (Wut Yae) , for building and decorating homes (Nay Yae). It is known and  well accepted by everybody and doesn’t need to elaborate. Apart from 3 basic human needs, energy and electrical power play crucial role in development, social sector, education, health, transportation and industrialization for a nation. We get energy and electric power from various sources; namely (a) from coal (b) fossil fuel and natural gases (c) hydro-power (d) solar-power (e) wind-power (f) geo-thermal-power (g) ocean wave and tidal-power (h) single use & rechargeable batteries (i) fuel cell and (j) nuclear power.  Some are clean and absolutely renewable such as solar, hydro power, wind, ocean wave and tidal power. Some are renewable but no so clean such as geo-thermal, rechargeable batteries, and fuel cell. Most powerful yet dangerous to develop, operate and dispose of the waste is power production using atomic reactors.
For comfortable environment lighting of homes, offices and factories is essential. We need to cool down in homes and working places in tropical countries, where the weather is warm in many months of the year. On the other hand, heating of homes and work places are essential for inhabitants to be comfortable and productive in their work in temperate countries. All in all, constant supply of electricity is needed for different type of industries, where goods, appliances, tools, instruments, machines, modern communication equipments and gadgets, vehicles, aircrafts, ships are manufactured. For instance, steel mills consume huge amount of power to convert pig iron blocks to liquefied iron, mix with ingredients such as carbon, alloys & chemicals to change into different type of steel, alloy, bars, rods, H beams, sheet metals etc.  In mining industry, changing the mineral deposit and ores from the mines to concentrate metal blocks also require huge amount of power. Hospitals need uninterrupted electricity supply 24 hours a day, for many health care functions and operation of patients.
Many leading industrialized countries have developed big power sources to feed and satisfy the ever increasing demands for power in many industries and factories. Coal burning produces heat, which in turn boil the water into steam inside a boiler. Steam runs a steam-turbine to generate electricity.  Gravity flow of water from a water fall or elevated surface of a dam feeds into a water turbine at a lower point which generates hydro-electricity. Then power from fossil fuel and gases entered into the power generation industry. Other renewable powers such as solar power, wind power, geo-thermal power, tidal power are supplementing the ever increasing power demand. In the mid-1940s country like United States developed nuclear power and they were able to make nuclear bomb. In addition nuclear power was also used for peaceful purposes such as supplying electric power to the manufacturing industries. As a result consumer goods, machineries, equipment and tools from advanced countries in North America and Europe had flooded into the global consumer markets. Although defeated in the second world war, Japan and West Germany emerged as leading export countries of consumer products including but not limited to industrial equipment, vehicles and modern appliances. Then nuclear energy was entering to the power sector with huge impact.  Many nations have opted to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
Currently if one looks at the top 20 economically successful and industrialized countries in the world, there are no countries without nuclear power plant providing power to their advanced industries.  On the other hand, there are so-called nuclear free zones in our world. It is nevertheless true that countries with nuclear power plants [for peaceful purposes] are more advantageous in competing economy since they can supply adequate power to their advanced industries. But so-called emerging economies and developing countries leg behind in fulfilling essential power to the industries, economic and social development. Can we ever become industrialized without adequate power supplies? We in Myanmar have abundant rivers to tap hydro-electricity. Gasified turbines can produce power too. On one hand power usage is ever increasing by flourishing industrial estates and ever increasing public utility with abundant end electrical appliances, which are inevitable for a society aspiring for better living standards. In not so distant future, we will definitely have to use electric trains both in the cities as well as inter-city train transportation. On the other hand the Government has been striving to generate & supply more power, using several power generation technologies, into the national grid. But it is worth looking into alternative power source such as nuclear power, some technocrats argue. Understandably, some areas might criticize and disagree with the idea for soliciting to look into the peaceful utilization of nuclear power. If so please see the list of current top 20 industrialized countries in the world which have successfully utilized the nuclear power for peaceful purposes so as to make their countries industrialized. We might become “peaceful, modern and developed nation” if we opt, after reviewing all pros & cons, for the above mentioned alternative and supplementary power generation for our light, medium and heavy industries, manufacturing, food processing and public utilities for future generations.

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