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INDIAS POLICY Myths and Realities Indias nuclear energy programme got a new colour since the establishment

of the Department of Atomic Energy in 1958. Reconstitution of the Atomic Energy Communication in 1958 and enactment of the Atomic Energy Act 1962 gave absolute power to initiate, formulate, plan and execute nuclear energy programme in total secrecy to one man the chairman of the commission who is responsible directly to the prime Minister alone. Ever since India became successful in exploding a nuclear device on the Rajasthan desert. On May 18, 1974, critics and analyses have been speculating about the future course of Indias nuclear programe. But recently Indias nuclear policy became a subject of serious discussion by a number of scholars both inside and outside of the country 2. It is relevant to examine, in the context of the tremendous opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons in several countries, whether India should continue its nuclear options open or not. The process against nuclear has been so over viewing after the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster. This paper focus on analyze the contradictions in Indias nuclear policy against the background of the arguments raised by various schools. Indias objective in trying to develop atomic energy has been to produce electric power as economically and as efficiently as possible. Even as early as 1948, the Government of India had appreciated the importance of developing atomic energy. So that the countrys economic progress May not be thwarted. Smt. Vijayalakshmi pandit had started in the U.N. General Assembly on 4th November 1948: It is our belief that India being an under developed and under power country, atomic energy would play an important role in developing its economy. This is especially so, since, we lack some of the vital source of

power for instance, oil. as Smt. Vijayalakshmi Pandit had pointed out. It is clear from Prime Ministers Nehrus observation in the Lok Sabha on 10 th May 1954 that the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes is far more importance for a country likes ours than for advanced countries. He for saw the utility of the nuclear energy in augmenting power generation, its possible use in agriculture, industry and Medicine3.


Mohammed B Alam Indias Nuclear Policy (New Delhi, Mittal Publishers 1988), pp. 32-34

India views its nuclear programme as entirely peaceful and unique in this world and therefore justifies the 1974 explosion. But it is doubtful whether this nuclear energy can be used for peaceful purposes. Because it is inherently destructive in nature. For instance, the radioactive waste that the nuclear plants leave become a major threat to mankind for thousand of years. There is not technical difference between a so called peaceful nuclear device or that horrible abhorrent tool of destructions the nuclear bomb. Every scientist and Engineer knows that the so called peaceful nuclear device incorporates the same basic technology as a devastating nuclear bomb. Therefore, Indias nuclear explosions of 1974 are being viewed by countries like Pakistan as weapon oriented. Nuclear bomb walls in this country have been raising the bogey of Pakistani bomb for a decade. But in the sixties they were urging the Nehru government to go

3. 4.

R.Rama Rao, Indias Nuclear progress bar once sheet India Quarterly (New Delhi) not xxxi (Oct-Dec 1947) Abdul Quadeerkhan, Indian Nuclear Policy and Pakistan plan, (Strategic Digest ( New Delhi), Vol. XV, No. 12, (dec. 1985) pp 1569 1573.

nuclear because they believed that India was threatened by Chinese which were nuclear in 1964. But all these years, never once our security has been threatened by chinese5. A Major obstacle in the path of an Indo- Pakistan agreement on the nuclear weapons issue is the contrasting attitude of the two countries towards Indias nuclear strategy while Pakistan feel threatened by Indias nuclear programme and desires to have it controlled by proper verification Indian views its nuclear programme as entirely peaceful and unique in this world6. India had refused to accede to the Non prolific ration treaty on the ground that it was exploiting the full range of nuclear applications such as peaceful nuclear as peaceful nuclear explosives or Peaceful nuclear explosions. Nuclear is simply too demanding technology for fallible man-too demanding in case, in wisdom and in vigilance. The poisonous wastes it will leave behind have a life time for larger than any human culture has survived. The dangers are of a nature and a magnitude which exceed any other human activity. Faced with these daunting problems, can nuclear power justify in future as a major power justify in future as a major source of energy for man kind. On the evidence available, the answer must no10. Based on the recent reliable figures, our total installed power generation capacity in MW (MG, March, 1979} is 26,689 out of which contributions of hydro-power is 10,831 {40.6%} and chermal 15,218 (57%) and nuclear 640 (2.4%).

5. 6.

Phirendra sharma, Discussion, Indias Nuclear Policy Mainstream, New (Delhi) Vol, XXV, No. 3, (April 11, 1987) P-34. Sunil sondhi n-1, P-32.

In due course it become apparent that Indias nuclear test had used plutonium and that this material had been produced in a test reactor from natural uranium. Plutonium not only can be made in to bombs, It can also be used directly as a radiological contain that on weapon of mass destruction. As an oxide or nitrate, plutonium could be scattered manually. A moving vehicle or a tell building could help make effective plutonium could be scattered manually. A moving vehicle or a tall building could help make effective plutonium disposal easy.8 Through its peaceful nuclear programme, India has created all the technology and facilities necessary to produce up to 15 to 30 nuclear weapons, a year. Since 1983, India has obtained unrestricted plutonium from its madras reactor. It is alloyed to have started processing this plutonium in to weapon grade material in 1985. India is also reported to have stepped up to imports of nuclear weapons design and testing of air droppable weapns.9. Nuclear power is not yet- dead no even necessary ply dying: but the optimistic hopes that attended its birth have perished one by one. At Chernobyl the last of these the hope that nuclear power could be safe and clear died along with the courage soviet frame in withstanding blast of indications. 7. 8. 9. 10. Sudraddin Agakhan (Edr.) Nuclear war, Nuclear proliteration and other consequences (Oxford clavendor press, 1986) P-198. Dhirendra Sharma, Indias Nuclear Easte (New Delhi; Lanurs publishers, 1983) PP 77 79) Sunil Sondhi, n-1, P-32. Nigel Hawkas and Greffrey cean, The worst Accident in the world (London, Pan Books, Ltd, 1986 pp- 230-231.

Price, in an exhaustive cost analysis is of nuclear power, has provided an in depth study of problem involved in working out real and hidden cost of all types of nuclear reactor systems including their cost to construct, install and run for 25 years average life span. The study of Lilienthal, the First chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, also explain all these cost energy indices which have been conveniently ignored by the pro-nuclear pundits of India and abroad. According to him, the most abundant

Transuranic waste material it plutonium 239 with a half life of 24, 390 years. It a nuclear power station produces 1000 MW for 25 years but leaves waste materials which require a power input for maintenance of 100 KW for 25,000 years, then the net energy output will be able to keep their average power consumption below 100 KW per reactor a well as develop an infallible system capable of surving for geological period. Indian has been an estimated hydro power-potential of 1,00,000 MW of which only about 10,830 MW is being utilized at the end of 1979. 11. Dhirendra sharma n.8, PP. 168 170

That is, only around 10% of the hydel project is being presently exploited. Due to political considerations, economically viable and technically convenient hydro electric schemes are not taken up seriously. Ninety percentage of the hydro potential is simply allowed to run away to these seas. In spite of this infinitely renewable source of energy freely available to our people, over the last 30 years. Little Research and Development funds have been made available for the hydro-power developments. In contrast atomic energy has received

untold secret funding without regards to the principles of self reliance, independence and environmental protection of our natural resoures.12. 12. lbid., pp, 170-171

The advocates of nuclear power commonly discount hidden costs involved in mining, fuel fabrication, processing and reprocessing elaborate safety system, and is not frequent shutdowns for legitimate reasons such as refueling and periodic checks. The most serious of all may be the environmental cost of wastes disposal which remain radioactive for as long half a million years and the problem of burial management of the dead nuclear reactors (normal life of a nuclear power station costing millions of rupees is 25 years) has yet to be properly understood13. In a chance accident or sabotage or earthquake, if the containment structure of a nuclear plant is damaged probability of radioactive getting in to environmental can not be ruled out and the long-term effects on ecology in such cases are unpredictable. For instance, on 26th April 1986, when the soviet nuclear power reactor at chernoby 1 blew up a nuclear nightmare suddenly came true. As radiation surged out of the stricken plan, the first panicky silence was followed by dramatic efforts to prevent a catastrophic

13. lbid., p. 171 melt down. Thousands more will die of cancers over the next decades and many of their children and childrens children may suffer from genetic diseases. Tens of thousands may not safely be able to return to their contaminated home for years to come. The nuclear disaster at three miles island in U.S (1979) was also another example.14. A powerful national mass movement of well organized and well informed nuclear opponents has now emerged in the U.S. to challenge the atomic industrial complex a political, economic, legal and environmental grounds. From a small core of opponents in the late 1960s. This opposition has swelled to a broadly based citizen movement today,

with strongholds of support in the middle class in the academic community and to an ever-growing extent among working class people. The movement has been energized by a growing public consciousness of the direct relation between nuclear radiation, environmental pollution and many public health hazards. The National council of

churches in 1976 also joined the nuclear opposition taking a stand against the use of plutonium in reactor fuel15.

14. Dhinendra Sharma Plea against commission narora Nuclear Plan mainstream ( New Delhi) Vol. XXVII, No. 16 (Jan 14, 1989), P.7

Mass demonstrations were held against a number of nuclear plants during the past 5 years in Western Europe. Notable among the demonstrations have been those at fissenhain in Alaska, France and at schweinfont, West Germany. On April 19, 1975 ten thousand people marched in protest against the construction of a nuclear power plant at nearby Grfenrheinfeld many of the participant were farmers who brought their tractors with them opponents of the plant charged it would destroy the agriculture in the region by heating the river main with its thermal discharges. Similarly in Switzerland also on April 6, 1975, a major demonstrated were held to protest against the construction of a nuclear plant in Kaiseraugust 16. Alarms of a more serious nature have been sounded by a study by a group of nuclear scientists commissioned after the 1986 April Chernobyl accident by the Green peace international the well known pacifist and anti-nukes.

14. John J. Bonger, Nucler Power the unviable option (Califormia ; Ramportha press, 1976) pp 339-340. 15. ibid,p-343.

Organization of this group of scientists headed by Helmet Hirsch, a famous, Austrian physist has concluded after examining the secret documents available at the international Atomic Energy Agency (TAGE) that many accidents of serious nature had taken place at the various VVER type 440 MW nuclear plants situated both in the soviet union and in the Eastern European countries it is relevant to point out here that there has been tremendous opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons in several socialist bloc countries as well, including the soviet union 17. Now days Japan Government is almost shut downed their nuclear power plants in their land due to the public protest. It is in this context that one should examine the recent controversial deal with the Soviet Union regarding the establishment of two nuclear plants in India. The official announcement of importing two 1000 MW VVER-type nuclear plants from the Soviet Union and sitting them at Koodankulam in Tirunelvel district in Tamil Nadu. Has raised important issues. The siting of the two 1000MW nuclear plants at Koondakulam will undoubtedly result in the immediate eviction of over 25,000 people from Koodamkulam village and its nearest area. The sitting up of the nuclear plants will also curtail fishing activities from urari in chidambaram district to Muttom in Kanyakumari district, a belt of nearly 75 KM. This will pose a threat to the livelihood of nearly 300,000 fishers folk; once the seashore gets contaminated due to possible radiation leak from the nuclear plants, there will be no way by which the fisher folk can sustain their materials life more over, farming activities in the region of around 10 KM from nuclear plants will face severe curtailment. It is pertinent here to note that the environmental impact Assessment study presented to the public by the authorities upcoming 1, 100 MW nuclear planet size well

in the east coast, of Britain sketches the following possible scenario. The report says it an anticipated accident occurred in the plant even under very normal weather conditions, the harmful radioactive relases will cause damage to public health and property downwind up to 170 K.M. a Environmentalist Shivaji Rao of the Andhra University waltair has superimposed the above scenario over Koodamkulam according to him people in the towns of Tamil Nadu and Kerala fall within the 140 KM belt will have to be forcibly evacuated with in 48 hours. Those with in 77 KM from the reactor will be forcibly evacuated with in 24 hours are able to come back to their houses only after 20 years. The Indian government has already signed an agreement with the IAEA on September 26, 1988 waiving safeguards for the two VVER type 1,000 NW nuclear plants.

17. Time bomb an Koodankulam Economic and political weekly (Bombay) Vol XXV No. 1 (Jan. 7, 1989) PP. 20-21.

It is to be pointed out here that the Indian government has never agreed to the bringing of its entire nuclear programme under IAEA Safeguards The agreement, in effect, will Means that the IAEA will not undertake safeguards inspection for these nuclear plants on the condition that India will return the so called spent fuel from these plants to the soviet union.

The agreement envisages the transport of dangerous radioactive wastes to the Soviet Union. This is going to be an extremely dangerous proposition. The Wastes will

have to be transported by road from Koodamkulam to a south Indian port. Probably Cochin or Tuticorn and from there by ship to the soviet ports covering a distance of at least 14,000 KN. The Suez canal, a the Mediterranean, the English channel and finally North sea, to be taken by the ship laden with radioactive wastes, poses extremely dangerous consequences for the many countries on the way18.

The IAEA, which has proclaimed its objective as that of spreading peaceful clear power, as a body has not been and will not be able to stop the skirting of its safeguard by countries using nuclear materials for their clandestine weapons programme. Hence, what prevents the so called spent fuel from being used for the production of

18. lbid., p-21, and also seen John J Berger PP -342 344. Nuclear weapons by the Indian government except a bland assurance that nuclear power will be used only for peaceful purpose. There is no guarantee that the Soviet Union, which has a long-drawn out weapon programme, will not use the so called spent fuel transformed from these plants for the production of nuclear weapons. It is relevant to point out here that there has been tremendous opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons in several socialist Block countries as well, including to Soviet Union. The protest has been so overwhelming after the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster that the soviet government has virtually abanded at least three upcoming nuclear power plants at Odessa, Minsk and Krasnadop.

All this raises further important questions. Since the Soviet Union itself is being forced to quickly close down three of its up-coming plants in the face of mounting opposition to nuclear power it that country, why should India buy the plants? And why should plutonium be produced at Koodamkulam in India and taken to the soviet union across a distance of 14,000 KN? What is the Soviet Union going to do with the plutonium? Store it? Or produce nuclear weapons? What are the dangers in either case? These are the possible questions that should not be clearly answered by the govt. of India.19 19 lbid; P. 21

The most remarkable breakthrough that Man Mohan Sighs Government was able to make was the Nuclear Deal with the United States. The process started with Dr. Singhs assumption of office and met its culmination in October 2006 when the final nuclear deal was signed between the two countries earlier on 18 July 2005, India and the united states signed the landmark civilian nuclear agreement in Washington DC next on 2 march 2006, a separation plan was initiated by India and the united states which listed out which reactors would new Delhi put under safeguards. On 18 December 2006, the Hyde Act was passed by the US Congress which led to the amendment of the US Atomic Energy Act. The next breakthrough came in 27 July 2007 when the 123 agreement was signed by India and the United States outlining the terms of nuclear trade between the two countries. On 1 August 2008, International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA) cleared India specific safeguards Agreement that defined the level of supervision of civilian plants. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver came ultimately after intense negotiation among its 45 members to allow nuclear trade with India on 6 September 2008 ultimately India and the United states struck the Nuclear deal on 8 October 2008. As the nuke deal is in place now, India can formally begin trade in civilian nuclear technology while continuing its nuclear weapons programme but expecting severe consequences if it conducts a test in future

The real factor behind the US decision to sign the Nuclear

deal was to balance off china in Asia that would help to maintain its primary in the region without isolating china India, therefore was key to the us game plan. Besides the

strategic factor, Washingtons decision to upgrade its relation with India was also a result of the growing worldwide acknowledgement of the image of India as a rising power, particularly in economic terms.

The implications of the US-India Nuclear Deal The US-India nuclear deal was essential to India because Indias additional approach towards nuclear cooperation bad reached a dead-end. Traditional India sought international nuclear cooperation, even while maintaining nuclear weapons program, by agreeing to partial safeguards on nuclear imparts. This strategy allowed India to supplement its domestic nuclear power capability with international cooperation, as long as there were willing international partners. However, when the rules of international nuclear commerce changed from partial safeguards to full-scope safeguards India was faced with the choice of either giving up its nuclear weapons program or giving up on international nuclear commerce. Not surprisingly, India chose the latter what the USIndia nuclear deal does is give India the option yet again to both keep its nuclear weapons programme while also preserving its access to international nuclear commerce. The support nuclear weapons convention with the objective of eventual comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Even after openly declaring itself as a nuclear disarmament

obviously, nuclear, disarmament is unlikely in the immediate future. In the meantime. India faces same key nuclear arms control challenges in the next till recently; India viewed its nuclear programme as entirely peaceful and unique in this world and therefore justified the 1974 explosion. But the pokhran tests have exposed this myth. Many had also doubted that the nuclear energy could be used for peaceful purposes only but it is inherently destructive in nature. For instance, the radioactive waste that the nuclear plants leave become a major threat to mankind for thousand, of years. There is no technical difference between a so-called peaceful nuclear device or that horrible, abhorrent tool of destruction, the nuclear bomb. Every scientist and engineer knows that

the so-called peaceful nuclear device incorporates the same basic technology as a devastating nuclear bomb. There fore, Indias nuclear explosion of 1998 we now viewed as weapon oriented more importantly after Pokhran-tests, the Vajpayee government categorically stated that the tests were meant to collect necessary data for developing advanced techniques for weaponisation.

Nuclear bomb wallas in this country have began raising the bogey of Pakistan bomb for the two decade. But in the sixties they were urging the Nehru government to you nuclear because they believed that India was threatened by china which went nuclear in 1964. But all these years never once has our security been threatened by the Chinese. A major obstacle in the path of on indo-Pakistan agreement on the nuclear weapons issue is the contrasting attitude of the two countries towards Indias nuclear strategy. While Pakistan felt threatened Indias nuclear programme and desires to have it controlled by proper verification by India bad refused to accede to the Nonproliferation. Treaty on the grounds that is was exploiting the full range of nuclear applications such as peaceful nuclear explosives or peaceful nuclear explosions.

In due course it became apparent that Indias nuclear test had used plutonium and that this material had been produced in attest reactor Nuclear from natural Uranium

plutonium not only can be made in to bombs, in can also be used directly as on anthological contamination weapon of mass destruction. As on oxide nitrate plutonium could be scattered manually.

Even while India had clandestine weaponisation programme, it continued with the argument that the nuclear power is the only solution to the impending power crisis in the country and that all efforts have been directed to achieve this. Keeping this is mind, one should examine the official announcement of importing two 1000 MW VVER light water reactors from Russia and setting them at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu which could have severe impact on environment.

Indias nuclear programme has come in for a serious debate after the Pokhran II tests. The nuclear tests have not only raised some vital questions concerning national security but brought to the forefront the basic contradictions in Indias public promises and practices. In the context of the Pokhran II tests and the tremendous opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons in several countries, it is relevant to examine whether India should continue its dual purpose nuclear programme or not countries.In spite of the overall adequacy of its uranium reserves, Indian power plants could not get the necessary amount of uranium to function at full capacity in the late 2000s, primarily due to inadequate investments made in the uranium mining and milling capacity resulting from fiscal austerity in the early 1990s. One study done for U.S. Congress in that time period reaches the conclusion, Indias current fuel situation means that New Delhi cannot produce sufficient fuel for both its nuclear weapons program and its projected civil nuclear program. An independent study arrives at roughly the same conclusion, Indias current uranium production of less than 300 tons/year can meet at most, twothirds of its needs for civil and military nuclear fuel. This uranium shortfall during the deal negotiations was understood by both players to be a temporary aberration that was poised to be resolved with requisite investments in Indias uranium

millinginfrastructure.It was estimated that after attaining 21 GW from nuclear power by 2020, further growth might require imported uranium. This is problematic because deployment of third stage requires that 50 GW be already established through the first and second stages. If imported uranium was made available, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) estimated that India could reach 70 GW by 2032 and 275 GW by 2052. In such a scenario, the third stage could be made operational following the fast breeder

implementation, and nuclear power capacity could grow to 530 GW.] The estimated stagnation of the nuclear power at about 21GW by 2020 is likely due to the fact that even the short doubling time of the breeder reactors is quite slow, on the order of 1015 years. Implementing the three-stage programme using the domestic uranium resources alone is feasible, but requires several decades to come to fruition. Imports of fissile material from outside would considerably speed up the programme. As per research data, the U238Pu cycle has the shortest doubling time by a large margin, and that technologys compounded yearly fissile material growth rate has been calculated as follows, after making some basic assumptions about the operating features of the fast breeder reactors. Indian power generation capacity has grown at 5.9% per annum in the 25 year period prior to 2006. If Indian economy is to grow at 89% for the next 25 year period of 2006 to 2032, total power generation capacity has to increase at 67% per annum. As the fissile material growth rate does not meet this objective, it becomes necessary to look at alternative approaches for obtaining the fissile material. This conclusion is mostly independent of future technical breakthroughs, and complementary to the eventual implementation of the three-stage approach. It was realized that the best way to get access to the requisite fissile material would be through uranium imports, which was not possible without ending Indias nuclear isolation by U.S. and the NSG. U.S. analyst Ashley J. Tellis argues that the Indo-US nuclear deal is attractive to India because it gives it access to far more options on its civil nuclear programme than would otherwise be the case, primarily by ending its isolation from the international nuclear community. These options include access to latest technologies, access to higher unit

output reactors which are more economical, access to global finance for building reactors, ability to export its indigenous small reactor size PHWRs better information flow for its research community, etc. Finally, the deal also gives India two options that are relatively independent from the three-stage programme, at least in terms of their dependencies on success or failure. The first option is that, India can opt to stay with the first stage reactors as long as the global supply of uranium lasts. The plus side of this is that it covers any risk from short term delays or failures in implementing the three-stage programme. On the negative side, this is an option that is antithetical to the underlying objective of energy independence through the exploitation of thorium. The second option, and perhaps the more interesting one, is that India can choose to access the third stage of thorium reactors by skipping the more difficult second stage of the plan through some appropriately selected parallel approach such as the hightemperature gas-cooled reactor, the molten salt reactor, or the various accelerator driven systems. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh stated in 2009 that the nation could generate up to 470 GW of power by 2050 if it managed the three-stage program well. "This will sharply reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and will be a major contribution to global efforts to combat climate change", he reportedly said According to plan, 30% of the Indian electricity in 2050 will be generated from thorium based reactors. Indian nuclear scientists estimate that the country could produce 500 GWe for at least four centuries using just the countrys economically extractable thorium reserves. According to the Chairman of Indias Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Srikumar Banerjee, without the implementation of fast breeders the presently available uranium reserves of 5.469 million tonnes can support 570 GWe till 2025. If the total identified and undiscovered uranium reserves of 16 million tonnes are brought online, the power

availability can be extended till the end of the century. While calling for more research into thorium as an energy source and the countrys indigenous three-stage programme, he said, The world always felt there would be a miracle. Unfortunately, we have not seen any miracle for the last 40 years. Unless we wake up, humans won't be able to exist beyond this century. The recent wide spread opposition from various sectors of society against the Koodamkulam nuclear power plant and the Governments dissident attitude towards these struggles shows that the rhetoric peaceful trait of Indias nuclear programme is now turning to a history.