Writes Vinod Varshney
Indo-US Nuclear Deal has been vigorously made contentious, nationally and internationally. Many arguments and counter arguments. Have taste of it here.
Indo-US Nuclear Deal has generated an elaborate debate in media, parliament and diplomatic circles. A section of international media has at times dubbed it a
While our economy remained hobbled,
BEWARE IF US WANTS TO CHANGE LAWS
But then there is another line of thinking based on
Arguments of the opposition political parties in the country on this issue has created an impression that by signing this deal India has chosen to become a “client state” of the US. To say so is natural for communists compelled by their professed ideology, but when politicians like the ex-external affairs minister Mr. Yashwant Sinha also use this term during debate in the parliament, then the issue needs to be examined closely in the light of strategic interest of the country rather than from the point of view of a short term political agenda.
One can recall that
Five years later when India exploded its first peaceful nuclear device in Pokharan in 1974, the US applied provisions of its Atomic Energy Act, 1954 and put technology sanctions against India. After the second Pokharan Test in 1998 entire nuclear suppliers group of 44 countries decided to stop even fuel supply to India whereas in the past India has been able to access it from China, France and Russia, as we had not been able to produce enough fissile grade uranium from our national resources.
We would be able to get this for any new reactor only when the NSG changes its rules.
During the last 33 years in spite of the sanctions Indian Nuclear Scientists were able to carry out their nuclear programme successfully, so much so, India is constructing its first Fast Breeder Reactor of 500 MW and will also be able to start constructing its first thorium based 300 MW Advanced Heavy Water Reactor next year, safety appraisal of the design is currently being examined by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
While Indian programme is spectacular given various constraints Indian scientists had to face, yet it would be blinkered view if we say we will be able to achieve national targets of nuclear power from our own resources.
So far we have been far behind the schedule the main obstacle has been the less availability and poor quality of Indian uranium ore which has only 0.06 percent uranium compared to 18 percent found in Canadian ore.
In spite of so many years efforts the total nuclear electricity generation installed capacity is of the order of 3310 MW. Worrying thing is due to fuel constraints the generation factor of our reactors which was 90% in 2002-03 has come down to 74% in 2005-06. If we remain limited to our own resources then by 2020 we shall not be able to achieve the goal of establishing 21,180 MW capacity of nuclear power which will be only 7 percent of the total established capacity.
If we are able to strike the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement, and after this the 44 nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) amends its rules then certainly this target can not only be achieved but doubled.
Our first thorium-based reactor of 300 MW is projected to be ready only by 2020. In order to grow at the minimum 9 percent per annum, we have to arrange electricity from all the possible sources. These are the reasons we need nuclear energy rules changed in favour of
Many people do not know but due such restrictions
INDIA DID ADHERE NPT DE-FACTO
One will have to agree that while
This act has made the Indo-US Nuclear Deal more difficult to go through than it appeared 20 months ago. Through the Hyde Act, the
Hyde Act has not recognized
For these two different categories the norms of monitoring nuclear plants are different. While non-nuclear power states have obligations to put all their nuclear reactors under the IAEA safeguards. That means that they can be inspected any time by IAEA inspectors for any violations of the NPT provisions and IAEA safe-guard guidelines and in case any violation is detected, the Security Council of the United Nations can take action against such states. Where as Nuclear Power States have the exclusive right to only voluntarily put their civilian reactors under safe-guards.
Not only this,
But plutonium is considered a weapon grade fissile material and if in future the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty will be signed,
But are there not really any concern on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal ? In fact there are many and hard negotiations will be required to address them. It has been suggested that the Deal would jeopardize the national security as it aims to involve
There is specific provision in the
It is mentionable that the
According to the Hyde Act if
The Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has assured the nation through his statement in the Parliament more than once that
Democrats have always maintained a hard line stance on this issue. Currently George Bush’s Republican Party does not have majority in both the houses of the Congress, and according to the Hyde Act, the agreement will have to be approved in the Congress. It seems it would be a very difficult task due to American political situation to get the deal through until after the 2008