Join this Group for Updates and Discussions on this Blog (and a few others)!

Google Groups Join

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More on Indo-US Nuclear Deal"

With the government agreeing to the commie demand and set-up some commission, here is something I read online that was rather neat, from one of the Communist leaders. As a non-television watcher I might of missed Sitaram Yechuri, a regular in televisions I know, but, in this online posting he sounds acceptable:

In 2006, 3.9 gw of nuclear power was generated, 3 per cent of India's total power generation. In the most optimistic scenario, after the operationalisation of this deal, this would grow, at best, to 20 gw by 2016, or just over 6 per cent of the projected generation.
Further, is nuclear power cost-effective? On the contrary, it is the most expensive option. As compared to coal, it would be one-and-a-half times more expensive. Compared with gas, it is twice as expensive. So is the case with hydro-electricity.

Given the abundance of coal reserves in India, the Planning Commission estimates that thermal energy would dominate power generation in India. As far as hydro-electricity is concerned, given the potential of nearly 150 gw, only 33 gw has been installed as of 2006. In addition, over 55,000 MW could be imported from Nepal and Bhutan. The tapping of such huge hydro-potential will not only augment our energy capacities at half the cost of nuclear energy, but will also tame these rivers, which regularly consume the lives of thousands. This year's floods according to the United Nations, are 'unprecedented' in human memory.
Thus, the government's argument that the Indo-US nuclear deal is to augment our energy resources sounds untenable. Huge commercial orders running into thousands of crores of rupees for the purchase of nuclear reactors would be placed on the US. The profit bonanza to multinational corporations is there for all to see with the attendant benefits to sections of corporate India.
Recollect that for more than three decades the West has not installed new nuclear power reactors. Is India then actually going in for this deal to bolster US economic interests? If the same amount of resources were to be spent on generating power through hydro, thermal, gas, clean non-renewable and solar electricity, India's energy augmentation would be many times higher. Thus, the nuclear deal not only exposes India to greater
vulnerability, it drains a huge amount of our scarce resources.

Apart from drawing India into the US strategic military alliances in the region like the forthcoming joint military exercises with the US, Japan, Australia and Singapore, and the effort at pressurising India's foreign
policy positions, this deal does not even guarantee full and complete access to civilian nuclear technology as assured by the Prime Minister in the Rajya Sabha. In fact, the 123 agreement forbids the transfer of dual-use
technologies. The assurances of uninterrupted fuel supplies also break down if the 123 agreement is terminated. The 123 itself explicitly states that the national laws will prevail upon termination, meaning, the Hyde Act. India would be subjected to international safeguards in perpetuity even after the 123 is terminated.

That is sound stuff and quite a few sensible questions that deserve to be answered. Thought I am not a great fan of the Commie politicians (or for that matter any politicians), I cannot but agree to his questions, particularly on the energy capacity issue.

Something else that bothers me is why are we only getting opinions from Nuclear scientists, politicians and career bureaucrats on this deal? I saw splashed across newspapers the other day a lecture by M.R.Srinivasan, distinguished scientist no doubt, but, a nuclear scientist and certainly a stake holder in the developments afoot. Why should we not have the someone from the Vidharba Farmers Association talk on the Nuclear Deal or for that matter those who have been displaced by the various dams for hydro power in this country or even those who live close to the existing nuclear stations? A colleague of the Indian Ambassdor in the US, (this man deserves to be respected for being candid about his views in public at least once in his career) defends him in the news paper, a series of nuclear scientists write on the deal, even Kalam makes a comment...why is our public discourse cornered and opinions made on behalf of a billion people by a select few, there are fewer of these than who sit in the Parliament.

No comments:

Read by Label