Issue needs to be discuss: 1. Strategic sadvantage for India: UN seat
2. SWOT analysis
Smarter use of nuclear waste Waste utilization: wastes (by reduction of oxides from thermal
reactors and chopped up metallic fuel elements from fast breeders) are subjected to electrolysis.
The partly separated metal mixture deposited at the cathode, mostly free from cadmium (and,
presumably, other fission products that can absorb neutrons), is further subjected to
hightemperature purification and cast into new fuel rods suitable for bombardment by fast
fast neutron reactors cannot use water as a coolant and must depend on liquid metal (sodium
already in such use as a heat transfer agent).
I believe that a cycle similar to that described for uranium can be operated with thorium of which,
as everybody knows, we have abundant sources. If the technology is mastered, India need not
really depend on the US or the Nuclear Suppliers Group for uranium supplies and all its energy
needs can be met for a long time to come.
Weak point instrumentation and control systems on external supplierrs, a
fast reactors to use uranium more efficiently than is possible in thermal neutron reactors.and
minimize the waste problem. India’s interest in fast reactors is because it opens a way of utilizing
the energy potential of thorium.
India’s interest in fast reactors is because it opens a way of utilizing the energy potential of
thorium. However substantial
quantities of plutonium are required to start off the fast reactors. This plutonium can come from
natural uranium heavy water reactors (such as the ones we have built and are building) or from low
enriched uranium light water reactors. The need to import natural uranium arises because the total
amount of uranium available in India, as of now, is not large.
Our presently known ores are of low grade and price of uranium produced in India is more than
five times the international
price. If we depended only on our own resources of uranium, we can only have a slow growth of
nuclear power capacity. Given the constraints on expanding coal based power (through CO2
burden in the atmosphere), on gas (due to limited availability and imported LNG prices being
linked to crude oil price) and on hydro electricity (due to opposition against dams because of
rehabilitation and submergence questions), India needs to rely more on nuclear energy to enlarge
the electrical generation capacity almost immediately. While the initial fast reactors India will
build, will use mixed oxide fuel (i.e. mixture of uranium oxide and plutonium oxide), a second
phase would use uranium and plutonium metal alloy. The metallic fuel promises higher breeding
gain (i.e. an increase in the production of new fissile material). At that stage, we shall have to use
pyrochemical processing of spent fuel, possibly using molten salts. Our scientists are studying
these questions actively.
On the question of burning nuclear waste, an approach India is pursuing is the use of accelerator-
driven-systems (ADS) for
using thorium. In this scheme, high-energy protons from an accelerator impinge a target, such as
lead, releasing a lot of neutrons in what is known as a spallation reaction. These neutrons can then
initiate fission in a sub-critical assembly with thorium. India may use this route as an additional
route to use thorium. These systems can also burn some of the nuclear waste and thus minimize the
waste management problems in the longer run. Indian scientists have been engaged instudying the
ADS route also.
Centre looks up to Indo-US nuclear deal for powering India
NEW DELHI, Nov. 11: As coal could exhaust in coming decades, the Union power ministry believes
that the initiatives like the Indo-US nuclear deal could significantly help India achieve its power
requirements and targets for the growing country’s needs.
India’s current level of energy consumption is extremely low, but its energy requirement, meant
to fuel its booming economy, is expected to grow at over 7 per cent every year, which would
mean a four fold increase in India’s energy requirement over the next 25 years.
It is expected that private participation in nuclear energy would be allowed as and when the Indo-
US nuclear deal goes through. Even the report titled “India Energy Outlook 2007”, released by the
KPMG, a leading global audit and financial services firm earlier, notes the recent efforts by the
Indian government in recognising the need for private participation in the energy sector and in
ensuring that policies to promote investments are implemented. The KPMG study has also
revealed that the coal reserves in India ~ depending on the quantum of its present extraction ~
will exhaust in next 45 years.
If Union power ministry is to be believed, India’s power and upstream energy sectors such as
coal, oil and gas would need investments to the tune of a $120-150 billion over the next five
years. Also with a targeted GDP growth rate of over 8 per cent and an estimated energy elasticity
of 0.75, the energy requirement is likely to grow at over 6.4 per cent every year over the medium
to long term.
According to coal ministry officials, private participation in coal mining for captive use, in oil & gas
exploration and in the power sector is already seeing significant progress. On the other hand, the
Atomic Energy Act is expected to be modified shortly allowing private participation, and
anticipating this, many large Indian and international energy players have started making moves
for possible tie-ups.
The proposed diversification of the fuel resource basket includes the shares of natural gas, hydro
power and nuclear energy too.
The government as well as the country’s private companies are looking at acquiring equity in
energy assets abroad as witnessed recently in the oil, gas and coal sectors.
Coal ministry officials said India plans to increase nuclear-energy production by more than 9 per
cent a year through 2050. Seven new nuclear reactors are already under construction and more
are planned despite political hurdles that threaten to derail the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy
While China draws fire over its energy production from “unclean” sources, half of United States
power is generated by coal, with atomic energy accounting for only 16 per cent of its total
A careful reading of the articles in this collection serves to expose thoroughly
the groundless demonisation of the CPI(M) and the Left in general, and Karat
in particular, that has been the stock-in-trade of much of both print and
electronic journalism over recent months. While the collection includes a
couple of articles presenting precise critical observations on the proposed
India-U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, its unifying theme is the
dangerous continuity in the foreign policies of both the BJP-led NDA and the
Congress-led UPA, especially in relation to India-U.S. ties. In fact, the
continuity in some respects even predates the formation of the BJP regime in
1998. Following the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and its own emergence as
the sole superpower, the U.S. initiated steps for bringing India into its
strategic plans and framework. The P.V. Narasimha Rao-led minority Congress
government began the process of India-U.S. military collaboration in 1992.
However, it was the NDA regime, which as Karat puts it tellingly, that was
most craven in its attitude to the U.S. It is precisely the desperate efforts of
the BJP-RSS combine when in power from 1998 to 2004 to seek the status of
a junior ally of the U.S. that make a mockery of its oppositional posturing in
the context of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal currently under the scanner.
Karat traces the several steps in the process of successive Indian
governments trying to forge a strategic relationship with the U.S. The
relationship has military, political and economic dimensions. Military
collaboration with the U.S. began in 1992 with the setting up of the India-U.S.
Army Executive Steering Committee, followed by the setting up of the Joint
Steering Committees of the two countries’ Navies (1992) and Air Forces
(1994). The India-U.S. Military Cooperation Agreement followed in 1995. The
BJP, with A.B.Vajpayee declaring the U.S. a natural ally of India and
L.K.Advani becoming the first Home Minister of India to pay a visit to the CIA
headquarters, “took the military collaboration to the level of a strategic
alliance.” After a brief setback caused by the Pokhran explosion and the
consequent sanctions, the BJP redoubled its efforts to curry favour with the
U.S. It resumed the International Military Exchange and Training programme
with the U.S. and offered port and airport facilities for U.S. forces when they
intervened militarily in Afghanistan. It allowed the FBI to set up an office in
New Delhi, welcomed the National Missile Defence programme of President
Bush, and allowed use of Indian naval ships to escort the U.S. ships through
the Malacca Straits. In January 2004, talks on the next steps in strategic
partnership (NSSP) with the U.S. were started. But before the BJP could
complete its work of making India a junior partner of the U.S., the elections of
2004 came, and the BJP-led combine was unseated by the Indian voters.
The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) adopted by the new UPA
government in 2004 stated that “The UPA government will pursue an
independent foreign policy keeping in mind its past traditions. This policy will
seek to promote multi-polarity in world relations and oppose all attempts at
unilateralism.” However, in practice, the foreign policy of the UPA has also
been largely one of seeking a strategic relationship with the U.S., with India
as a junior partner. The New Framework for U.S.-India Defence Relationship
signed in late June 2005 and the Indo-U.S. Joint Statement of July 18, 2005
signalled the eagerness of the UPA government to enter into a strategic
relationship with the U.S., despite the NCMP excluding it. Soon, by voting
against Iran twice in the IAEA, the UPA government demonstrated its
willingness to abandon the time-tested foreign policy of non-alignment to
secure the status of a subordinate ally of the U.S. The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal
has to be understood and examined in this context, and not evaluated as a
Karat makes a convincing case for India not choosing to embrace the U.S. as
a strategic partner by reminding us graphically of U.S. shenanigans across the
world in the name of ‘democracy’ and its open espousal of ‘regime change’ in
various parts of the world in complete disregard of principles of national
sovereignty and independence. Now that the UPA government seems to have
resiled from its earlier obdurate stand on the nuclear deal, public debate
should take on board the substantive points made by Karat on the dangers of
a strategic partnership with the U.S. and of the associated pressures on
economic policy as well in such areas as financial liberalisation, FDI in retail,
the Indo-U.S. Agricultural Knowledge Initiative dominated by agribusiness and
retail trade multinationals. The importance of a sensible energy policy which
requires India to keep its international options open also needs to be
underlined, and the very modest contribution of nuclear energy in this regard
under even the most optimistic scenario understood.
The level of media and public discourse on the nuclear deal and on foreign
policy will be greatly enhanced if some of the print media contributors and the
television anchors take the trouble to read and understand Karat’s book,
instead of dismissing the Left as “irrationally anti-American”. But that may be
too much to hope for.
is the US suddenly trying to be so nice to India? What is the basis for USA’s
new found love for India?
Background tale of NPT
India has not signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which
recognizes only those countries that have conducted nuclear test before 1967
as nuclear powers! Every sovereign nation has the right to acquire nuclear
weapons and the attempt to eliminate all nuclear weapons out of the world
should be a global effort, where as an agreement like NPT only creates an
elite nuclear club of few nations that have done tests before 1967! NPT is like
saying only 5-6 countries can have nuclear weapons and all other countries
should not have them. Utter nonsense and childish. India has rightly
maintained that it will not sign NPT. As usual Pakistan has said that it will not
sign NPT till India signs it!! There is no other logical basis for Pakistani stand.
Like India, even Israel has rejected NPT on similar grounds.
Read my on Indo-US nuclear deal.
The Uranium resources available in India are not adequate to power our
nuclear plants. Since India is not a signatory to NPT, the NSG i.e Nuclear
Suppliers Group (a group of nations with natural Uranium resources) will not
supply Uranium to India.
So US has gone out of its way and created an act called Hyde Act, to allow US
to supply Uranium fuel to even those countries which are not signatories to
NPT! All this just to enable US to supply nuclear fuel to India. Hyde Act
provides a legal basis to the 123 agreement between India and US. Why is US
doing all this?
The reason US gives is that it will help solve India’s rising energy needs! From
when did US start having such a great concern for India and its needs?
It was the same US which refused to abide by its contractual obligations of
supplying nuclear fuel to India in 1974 after India conducted its first nuclear
test. US was then supplying fuel to India’s Tarapur nuclear power plant TAPS,
and after the Indian tests it simply refused to supply!! And do we have to
trust US again? What is the guarantee that US won’t repeat this in the future?
And this time there are also legal provisions in the Hyde Act for US to do so!
US itself generates only about 16% of its power requirements using nuclear
fuel. Why? If nuclear power is so viable then why not take it to 40-50%?
Depending on nuclear reactors is not a joke. A small accident can leave the
entire region uninhabitable to years to come. What about terrorist attacks on
It was the same US which under Richard Nixon sent arms supplies to Pakistan
in 1971 via Iran in direct violation of the US laws that had imposed sanctions
on Pakistan then. US sent its aircraft carrier USS enterprise to scare India
during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, and when India did not care about any
possible US intervention, Nixon called the Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi
a ‘witch’! The then US national security adviser, Henry Kissinger went even
further and called Indira Gandhi a ‘bitch’ and said ‘the Indians are bastards
anyway’! See related info about these derogatory comments used by the top
US administration against India and Indians
Who knows, there might be similar comments used even by the current US
administration about India (especially about the left parties of India which are
against the deal, or even about BJP/NDA for conducting the 1998 nuclear
tests), which might get revealed 2-3 decades later!
It was the same US which encouraged China to sell arms to Pakistan! Note
that during the cold war Pakistan was an US ally, and the US could not bear
the closeness of Indian ties with USSR. And today the same US is saying that
Pakistan cannot be considered for a similar nuclear deal like the one with
India? Why? Pakistan on the other hand is justified (from its point of view) in
feeling betrayed by the US, in spite of them supporting US in the war on
terror and during the cold war. It was for the same Pakistan which was an US
ally once, that US officials told after 9/11 attacks that ‘be prepared to be
bombed back to stone age’!
But again, it was the same US which turned a blind eye towards Pakistan’s
nuclear ambitions. And now its making all the hue and cry about the Pakistani
run nuclear black market!
In other words, all I am trying to say is that there is no true concern about
India in this US-Indo nuclear deal. Its again all about US interests. This is
bloody international politics, no place for words like emotions, love, respect
here. Its all about safeguarding one’s national interests. So India should not
be carried away. US is just redefining the playground of international politics.
US is aware that India is becoming a major world power, a stable democracy
of over 1 billion people cannot be ignored, and more than anything else it is
the foreign policy and economics that matters.
US wants to contain China which it perceives to be a threat to US interests in
the future. So US wants to use democratic India as a base against the
communist China, the same way it once used Pakistan against India! It is no
surprise that immediately after the 123 agreement was announced, Japanese
premier Shinzo Abe visited India, stressing the need for a broader alliance of
the democracies of Asia (so obviously excluding China)! US wants a US-Indo-
Japanese-Austrialian nexus in the region to contain China.
Next US wants India to play second fiddle to its foreign policies like that on
Iran. US is at unease with Indian relations with Iran, and wants to use deals
like these to dictate Indian foreign policy in tune with its own.
And finally the economic boom of India. Who doesn’t wants money. The Indo
US nuclear deal will allow legal framework for contract worth over 150 billion
US dollars to american companies! Look at the amount of money India will be
spending on American companies. Can’t we save this huge amount of money?
A lot of money India is earning due to its economic boom is going back to
these countries in this way! Just yesterday India has invited RFP for a global
defence tender worth over 42000 crore rupees!!
Every time India buys a commercial aircraft from Boeing or Airbus, every time
India buys fighter aircrafts like F-16s, Sukhois, etc spending billions of dollars
on them, I would be wondering can’t we build these things on our own and
save the huge money and use it for other developmental activities within the
country? These spendings are like, not cooking food at home, and instead
going to hotel everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, both waste of money
and spoiled health
The Nuclear Way
I strongly believe that nuclear energy based on fission elements should NOT
be a major source of power generation for the world in the future, because of
the resulting radioactive pollution and waste problem. We should concentrate
on renewable energy resources like solar, water, wind, lava/magma, etc.
Instead of depending on one single source as an answer to all our energy
requirements, we should follow a distributed and localized approach, like the
example mentioned here.
But more importantly nuclear fusion based technology when invented could
provide a better answer to world power shortage. Fusion does not leave long
term radioactive waste unlike nuclear fission. India is already a member of
ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project to build an
experimental reactor based on nuclear fusion, along with the EU, US, Japan,
Russia, China and South Korea. Look at the roles of each country in this
Having said this, India has world’s second largest reserves of Thorium and
efforts are on to develop Thorium based fast breeder reactors in India. India
would not have required the nuclear deal if we had enough Uranium available.
Now that we have Thorium, why not concentrate on it instead and develop
Thorium based reactors?
Indian Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) went critical (i.e started power
generation) in 1995. FBTR uses indigenously developed plutonium-uranium
mixed carbide fuel. All that is left is to succeed in, using depleted Thorium
(available abundantly in India) to create Uranium-233, i.e India can still
produce Uranium using its available Thorium resources, even if Uranium is not
available naturally in India in large amounts! Once we are able to convert our
Thorium into Uranium, why do we need this nuclear deal at all? Remember
that from an Indian point of view, nuclear deal is all about getting Uranium to
be used as fuel to power its nuclear plants.
If people are thinking that the Indo-US nuclear deal is going to solve all our
power problems, let there be no illusion about it. Even if we implement the
Indo-US nuclear deal today, by 2020 we will be at the most generating 20000
Mega Watt of power using nuclear power, where as the power requirement of
India by then would be about 2,50,000 Mega Watt. What a massive
compromise for less than 10% of our power needs!! India will become just
another country playing second fiddle to the US if we go ahead with this deal.
And US foreign policy will dictate what Indian foreign policy would be.
So all I am saying is, lets be practical. There is no rediscovered great
friendship and love of US to India here. US is just continuing to play and
redefine the game and re-identify its partners and adversaries based on its
national interests. India should also look only at its national interests.
Remember that, when US refused to sell Supercomputers to India in the
1980s, Rajiv Gandhi setup C-DAC to build our own indigenous super
computers. The result is that today India with its PARAM series of super
computers developed by C-DAC, is among the only three countries in the
world which have developed their own teraflop super computers (The other
two are US and Japan, the Indian version being lot more cheaper in terms of
manufacturing cost than those of US and Japan). So India has the proven
track records not just in software, but also in hardware. Moser baer is
another Indian success story in the hardware field.
If we are to become a future super power, we should remove all kind of
dependencies which would come on the way of our independent foreign
policies, we should become technologically self sufficient, concentrate on
emerging as a third alternative to US and China instead of playing second
fiddle to US. That’s the way ahead for a super power India. When I say super
power India, I dont mean a super power like USA, I mean much more and
much beyond than that! A world leader which treats all other countries on par
with it, a world leader which other countries look at not out of fear, but with a
feeling of trust.