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gamercube
07 Mar 07,, 19:20
United Press International - International Intelligence - Walker's World: India's nuke deal falters (http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/walkers_world_indias_nuke_deal_falters/20070306-102320-4804r/)

Walker's World: India's nuke deal falters

By MARTIN WALKER
UPI Editor Emeritus


MUMBAI, March 6 (UPI) -- There is a serious problem with this week's detailed negotiations on the nuclear cooperation agreement between India and the United States, whose success is essential if the Bush administration's rhetoric about "strategic partnership" with India is to become a reality.

Among the diplomats and officials in Washington and New Delhi, the pact is seen as a done deal, with only a few technical issues left to be resolved and critics of the agreement are dismissed as "isolated voices" and "a handful of disaffected scientists."

But in a leafy suburb of Mumbai, sitting over cups of tea in his living room, the grand old man of India's nuclear scientists told United Press International that he was firmly opposed to the deal, and that as currently drafted it would fatally compromise Indian sovereignty over its nuclear program.

"I do not think I am a lone disaffected scientist," said Peter Ayengar, former chairman of India's Atomic Energy commission. "Every other living former chairman of the Commission agrees with me. Indeed, I do not know any Indian nuclear scientists who do not agree."

"As currently drafted, the agreement would force us to stop re-processing nuclear fuel, something we have been doing for thirty years. It would terminate our strategic program (India's nuclear weapons program) by exposing us to sanctions if we conducted nuclear tests. And it puts impossible barriers in our path to ongoing and future research, including our well-developed programs for fast-breeder reactors and to use thorium rather than uranium as a nuclear fuel," he added.

"By saying that India shall not re-process fuel and not develop the fast-breeder reactors, this deal undermines our ability to produce energy in the future when uranium runs out," Ayengar went on. "This is a question of national sovereignty, of India's right and ability to decide such things for ourselves."

Ayengar could speak out because he is retired. Other Indian nuclear scientists who are still serving, who spoke to UPI off the record because of a gag order issued by the Indian government, agreed with his objections to the deal. Some went further, claiming "we believe the real U.S. motive is to take control over India's nuclear capabilities."

The deal began as a way to allow India legal access to U.S. nuclear technology and to uranium fuel for its nuclear power stations. This required India to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the international control system, which India has for 40 years refused to do. In the initial agreement of July 2005, the Bush administration thought it had met India's concerns by allowing India to separate its military from its civilian reactors, and to limit the intrusive inspection regime to the civilian sector.

As then written, Ayengar thought the deal might be acceptable. But by the time it had gone through the U.S. Congress, he told UPI, "the terms had been substantially rewritten. It is no longer a partnership agreement between India and the United States but a non-proliferation mechanism that puts us in the corner."

The opposition of Ayengar and other nuclear scientists has thrown up formidable political hurdles to the deal in India's Parliament. Leftist members of the governing coalition are against it from a deep-rooted suspicion of U.S. policies in general, while the conservative and nationalist opposition parties oppose it for compromising Indian sovereignty.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh backs the deal for three main reasons. First, it ends India's status as a nuclear pariah by bringing it within the NPT system. Second, this means that India can in future legally import uranium as fuel for its reactors. (Ayengar confirmed that this had not been much of a problem in the past, and that he had been able to acquire uranium from China.) Third, it opens the way for India to start exporting its nuclear power technology and to sell nuclear power stations into what looks to be a booming future market.

India's newest reactor, the 220-Megawatt pressurized heavy water reactor called the Kaiga 3, went critical last week and will start delivering power later this month. Anil Kakodkar, current chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, says the extraordinary low costs and the short 5-year construction time "has set a new international benchmark."

India's Nuclear Power Corporation claims that it can build export versions of Kaiga 3 for "less than half the current international average cost of $1,500 per installed Kilowatt." Indian media reports suggest that initial negotiations have begun for export sales to Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

After detailed talks last week between Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, American officials claimed they saw no real problem in drafting an agreement that would satisfy India -- that it would be guaranteed future uranium supplies and allowed to conduct nuclear tests. But both Indian and U.S. negotiators told reporters the issue of India's right to re-process spent nuclear fuel "would be the toughest nut to crack" and would probably require "political intervention at the highest level."

There is no doubt that both governments want the deal to succeed, primarily as a symbol of the new strategic friendship of India and the U.S. This is rooted in the way that each country feels the need for support as the world's two largest democracies confront the challenge of China's dramatic rise in economic and military potential, a challenge that was emphasized this week with China's announcement of another 18 percent increase in its military budget.

The question for Ayengar and India's nuclear scientists is whether the price the Americans are now demanding is too high.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Is the price demanded by the Americans too high? What will happen if India's demand to be allowed to reprocess spent fuel is is denied? Could we walk out of the deal, and still supply nuclear reactors to other countries?

Ray
07 Mar 07,, 19:35
I am no nuclear scientist.

I also agree. :)

kinmist
07 Mar 07,, 20:00
I am against the deal, however "important" and "strategic" its played up to be.
Once Bush is out of the office and Manmohan Singh is finally able to see through the haze he's been living in, I hope the deal dies a quick death.

The deal is simply a backdoor to put a cap on India's nuke programme.

subba
07 Mar 07,, 23:40
With Kinmist and Ray Sirs..i agree too. :)

Sirs..thorium is our future. And we should develop that fully, start our own NSG, NPT based on thorium plants.

I wish the scientists give a proper alternate development plan based on that. They do have thorium based reactors critical on an experimental basis. How much money do they require from increasing output from 200mw to say 1500 MW on say a 7 year basis? Can a project plan for the same be developed.

Time to junk the Hyde act. One can easily see the mentality behind the enact..:redface:

texasjohn
08 Mar 07,, 00:02
I agree with the thorium concept. I believe India has the world's largest deposits. Am I right?

Tronic
08 Mar 07,, 00:34
Hmm... I'm ready to take the word of a nuclear scientist... I think the deal needs to be re-assessed...

subba
08 Mar 07,, 01:47
TJ Sir yes India has some of the largest thorium deposits. Ranges 30-50% of known deposits. It has also the best tech as far as thorium based reactors go. There's a forum dedicated to discussing that. Check it out. Pretty good stuff..

Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum :: Index (http://www.energyfromthorium.com/forum/)

Admin sirs i know it's incorrect to post forum refs here. But this is a superspeciality one for reference. Thanks.

Jay
08 Mar 07,, 02:35
This is my understanding, I dont understand whats wrong with the deal.
US will sell fuel only for our civilian reactors. Since they provide fuel, they are within their rights to dictate what happens to the spent fuel. It would be great, if they take care of the spent fuel disposal, it more time and money consuming :)

The US has no say in running any of our military reactors and they dont have any say in the spent fuel from those reactors. Also, the US does not has any control over Fast breeder reactors built, fueled and maintained by India. Also any new reactor will be categorized by GoI, independent of US.

Infact, with this deal, we have a more reliable supply of technology and fuel for our civilian reactors, so we can use Indian fuel for our military reactors. That way we can afford to build more civilian power stations.

Samudra
08 Mar 07,, 02:55
We could procure from other countries too. The French and Russia are always willing to supply us what we need - if the required money is paid.

Jay
08 Mar 07,, 03:30
We could procure from other countries too. The French and Russia are always willing to supply us what we need - if the required money is paid.
No, we cannot. They are still a part of NSG and with US on the other side it would be next to impossible to get the goodies. The point is US has the political clout in any major international orgn unlike Russia and France.

Regardless, Russia and France has to agree with India on the spent fuel re-processing, IMO that would never happen. At present, I remember reading that we are sending back the spent fuel to Russia or that was the agreement for Russian built Kudangulam.

So if you go with the US, you have an easy access to US, France, UK and Russia's technological edge, you have an option to pick and choose ;)

Hari_Om
08 Mar 07,, 03:33
United Press International - International Intelligence - Walker's World: India's nuke deal falters (http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/walkers_world_indias_nuke_deal_falters/20070306-102320-4804r/)

Walker's World: India's nuke deal falters

By MARTIN WALKER
UPI Editor Emeritus


"I do not think I am a lone disaffected scientist," said Peter Ayengar, former chairman of India's Atomic Energy commission. "Every other living former chairman of the Commission agrees with me. Indeed, I do not know any Indian nuclear scientists who do not agree." ...............



Peter Ayengar :confused: .

No such individual has ever been served as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India.

Probably the author means Dr. Padmanabha Krishnagopala Iyengar.

The least one can do is get the spelling of the surname right. Having the right first name, would also help.

texasjohn
08 Mar 07,, 04:09
No, we cannot. They are still a part of NSG and with US on the other side it would be next to impossible to get the goodies. The point is US has the political clout in any major international orgn unlike Russia and France.

Regardless, Russia and France has to agree with India on the spent fuel re-processing, IMO that would never happen. At present, I remember reading that we are sending back the spent fuel to Russia or that was the agreement for Russian built Kudangulam.

So if you go with the US, you have an easy access to US, France, UK and Russia's technological edge, you have an option to pick and choose ;)

I would agree there. The US pretty much spells out the line the NSG is going to take.

There appears to be a lot of suspicion about the deal. I will put this down to paranoia inherent in the national culture ( perhaps).

Here is an example (unrelated) but I hope I make my point. The last time we flew to India ( my wife's first trip there), on the Bombay -Bangalore leg one of the announcements was " no photography allowed in Indian airspace". I was a little dissapointed, cuz I wanted to take some real cool pics of the pretty scenery. I could have gone to Google Earth and got the same pics ( with better resolution) than through my digital poking through the window of an airplane!! huh? what is India scared off?? it's own shadow?

Samudra
08 Mar 07,, 05:49
So if you go with the US, you have an easy access to US, France, UK and Russia's technological edge, you have an option to pick and choose ;)

Oye Jay

Thats what I was trying to say...we're not going to be buying from the Americans alone...so why worry ?

Jay
08 Mar 07,, 08:36
Oye Jay

Thats what I was trying to say...we're not going to be buying from the Americans alone...so why worry ?
Ah, now I get it, its coz of too much pessimism around this thread ;)

joey2
08 Mar 07,, 12:14
read this on thorium,

Thorium Power,
Energy from Thorium (http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/)

Th Better than Uranium (TreeHugger) (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/01/th_better_than_1.php)

Archer
10 Mar 07,, 17:04
This is my understanding, I dont understand whats wrong with the deal.
US will sell fuel only for our civilian reactors. Since they provide fuel, they are within their rights to dictate what happens to the spent fuel. It would be great, if they take care of the spent fuel disposal, it more time and money consuming :)

The US has no say in running any of our military reactors and they dont have any say in the spent fuel from those reactors. Also, the US does not has any control over Fast breeder reactors built, fueled and maintained by India. Also any new reactor will be categorized by GoI, independent of US.

India is a developing country which will spend vast sums on a network of reactors dependent on supplies from abroad for fuel. We run afoul of the US, have tests etc- the supplies will be cut. Its a damocles sword. On the plus side, we can get energy from imported fuel, end the discrimination (partially), take care of growing energy demands. On the con, all that Ayengar says plus the record of the US in trying to suborn any scientific/intell officer whom they can get their hands upon, as and when they feel the need to.
That makes me against the deal. Simply put, the follow on admins may well lose sight of the spirit of the deal (cooperation) and start regarding it as yet another arrow in the quiver to extract their interests out of India. I think India should spend more time and effort in developing ties and long term energy supplies from existing suppliers, evaluate more options in renewable energy sources, spend more time and money on having rural india meet its own energy needs from available resources (as long as it is not coal/wood) rather than spend all our bank on nuclear energy alone.

Lastly, the fact that this deal is being championed by MMS is itself a cause of worry. He is nowhere near a Indira Gandhi or PVN Rao in terms of grit and strategic foresight, and was the sole member of the cabinet to oppose the nuke tests, per reports. Also he dances to The Lady (tm)'s tunes because he must & the UPA is simply too fragmented to have an overall strategically coherent policy.

Kill it for now, resuscitate it later when India is in a stronger negotiating position, and less can go wrong.


Infact, with this deal, we have a more reliable supply of technology and fuel for our civilian reactors, so we can use Indian fuel for our military reactors. That way we can afford to build more civilian power stations.

See above..

Archer
10 Mar 07,, 17:09
I would agree there. The US pretty much spells out the line the NSG is going to take.

There appears to be a lot of suspicion about the deal. I will put this down to paranoia inherent in the national culture ( perhaps).

Here is an example (unrelated) but I hope I make my point. The last time we flew to India ( my wife's first trip there), on the Bombay -Bangalore leg one of the announcements was " no photography allowed in Indian airspace". I was a little dissapointed, cuz I wanted to take some real cool pics of the pretty scenery. I could have gone to Google Earth and got the same pics ( with better resolution) than through my digital poking through the window of an airplane!! huh? what is India scared off?? it's own shadow?


Thats not paranoaia but security. Many of Indias military airports now share space with civilian airports which are right beside them, because short sighted Govts tried to save money by combining both. As you land at Lohegaon (Pune), you see Sukhois! As you land at Bangalore, you see HALs lineup. In Mumbai, RAW a/c and IAF ELINT birds are visible- whose s/n are now on the net, even thanks to amateur photography. While sat photos can show overall layout, actual photos can provide key details.

saambaarblast
10 Mar 07,, 18:30
Thats not paranoaia but security. Many of Indias military airports now share space with civilian airports which are right beside them, because short sighted Govts tried to save money by combining both. As you land at Lohegaon (Pune), you see Sukhois! As you land at Bangalore, you see HALs lineup. In Mumbai, RAW a/c and IAF ELINT birds are visible- whose s/n are now on the net, even thanks to amateur photography. While sat photos can show overall layout, actual photos can provide key details.

And there were talks for converting Begumpet Airport in Hyd into a vast commercial zone :rolleyes: by shifting the Airport to outskirts and merging it with the upcoming international airport. Unlike most other airports, Begumpet is in heart of the city.

Air Force put its foot down, they kept coming up with creative ideas like "we want to set up an Air Force training facility/Engineering college/hospital etc:biggrin: .

Jay
10 Mar 07,, 21:29
India is a developing country which will spend vast sums on a network of reactors dependent on supplies from abroad for fuel.
I think we are already doing it, our newly built civilian reactors are already dependant on foreign fuel.

We run afoul of the US, have tests etc- the supplies will be cut. Its a
damocles sword.
Thats true and thats the only negative side I see to this deal.

Ayengar says plus the record of the US in trying to suborn any scientific/intell officer whom they can get their hands upon, as and when they feel the need to.
Think about this, with or without the deal, US will always try to poach our guys. Although I agree that we are giving a red carpet for the US to have legitimate contacts with our guys, I'm not sure whether this can be our primary reason to shoot the deal.
We need energy and new technology. Either we can spend our own money and brains and re-invent the wheel or we can use COTS technology from US, Russia, France. Remember the US will try to block any nuclear related sale to India in all the major platforms. I'm not sure even Russia would back us up.

evaluate more options in renewable energy sources, spend more time and money on having rural india meet its own energy needs from available resources (as long as it is not coal/wood) rather than spend all our bank on nuclear energy alone.
Energy is politics in India and I dont think our netas have enough foresight on this issue. Nuclear energy is clean and almost cheap. Other than few pockets in the NE most of our renewable energy respources are already tapped and with the growing industrialization we need electricity and we need it fast. Nuclear energy is very attractive on all these counts.

Kill it for now, resuscitate it later when India is in a stronger negotiating position, and less can go wrong.
But for how long and what until then?

texasjohn
11 Mar 07,, 04:53
Thats not paranoaia but security. Many of Indias military airports now share space with civilian airports which are right beside them, because short sighted Govts tried to save money by combining both. As you land at Lohegaon (Pune), you see Sukhois! As you land at Bangalore, you see HALs lineup. In Mumbai, RAW a/c and IAF ELINT birds are visible- whose s/n are now on the net, even thanks to amateur photography. While sat photos can show overall layout, actual photos can provide key details.

Archer bud,

here is my take on that. If you fly into the DFW area you will be within a stone's throw from the Naval Air Station (F-14s till recently), Carswell Air Force base, (B-52s till recently after the cold war) ...etc.

The location of these bases are not top secret!

This is true all over the US. There are only a few hundred around.

What sort of National Security is compromised by me taking pictures of the beautiful western Ghats on my flight from Bombay to Bangalore? That's what I mean by paranoia!

Archer
12 Mar 07,, 09:21
Archer bud,

here is my take on that. If you fly into the DFW area you will be within a stone's throw from the Naval Air Station (F-14s till recently), Carswell Air Force base, (B-52s till recently after the cold war) ...etc.

The location of these bases are not top secret!

This is true all over the US. There are only a few hundred around.

But India is not the US- the amount of population in India makes security a nightmare. There are only a handful of bases, and the actual placement of stores, aircraft is often not available via sats. Google earth etc is outdated (thanks to entirely these sec. concerns), so getting on a flight and taking snaps, or whilst on the apron doing the same is a relatively cheap way of getting S/N. If you have S/N, you know the detachments from which squadrons etc. Its a concern.


What sort of National Security is compromised by me taking pictures of the beautiful western Ghats on my flight from Bombay to Bangalore? That's what I mean by paranoia!

This is an unfortunate sideeffect of the above. Ideally, they should just ask the cabin crew to make sure that nobody has cameras open on landing etc, but hey as if thats foolproof.

In a few years time, the civilian airports should be bifurcated from the mil ones, so this issue should (hopefully) go away, but even there there will be issues. Domestic flights might continue to face these restrictions.

But at least here there is some rationale. True paranoaia are all the whimsical maintenance of civil order stuff from the Raj and the 40's being retained today. IIRC you cannot fly kites etc in some places in the north, because it could be used as a means of signalling. :rolleyes:

Archer
13 Mar 07,, 17:43
I think we are already doing it, our newly built civilian reactors are already dependant on foreign fuel.

Thats true and thats the only negative side I see to this deal.


..when you have two reactors dependent on foreign fuel, you can fill them with local fuel or walk off...when you have a dozen, then you cant walk off..


Think about this, with or without the deal, US will always try to poach our guys. Although I agree that we are giving a red carpet for the US to have legitimate contacts with our guys, I'm not sure whether this can be our primary reason to shoot the deal.
We need energy and new technology. Either we can spend our own money and brains and re-invent the wheel or we can use COTS technology from US, Russia, France. Remember the US will try to block any nuclear related sale to India in all the major platforms. I'm not sure even Russia would back us up.

..but this gives them an insight into our orgs the way they never had..


Energy is politics in India and I dont think our netas have enough foresight on this issue. Nuclear energy is clean and almost cheap. Other than few pockets in the NE most of our renewable energy respources are already tapped and with the growing industrialization we need electricity and we need it fast. Nuclear energy is very attractive on all these counts.

But for how long and what until then?


..i gave the solution previously, by renewable energy, i mean everything from windpower to others...not just hydel...even small scale units can help..