Nothing can be done to prevent earthquakes, considering that the Indian subcontinent is on a moving tectonic plate that is constantly crashing into the Himalayan range and pushing under the Eurasian plate at the rate of 5cm per year. Some areas are thus seriously earthquake-prone owing to aggravated faultlines and fissures in the earth.
Mixing earthquakes and nuclear power plants, therefore, would seem like courting a nightmare, which is what Jaitapur may be facing. This town, located on the unspoilt Ratnagiri coast of Maharashtra, is at the confluence of seismic zones 3 and 4, the latter the penultimate category in the national system for assessing earthquake-sensitive areas and identified as a “High Damage Risk Zone”. It is also the site prospectively for the largest nuclear power complex in the world, expected to pump 9,900 MW of electricity into the national grid………http://www.huffingtonpost.in/bharat-karnad-/post_9370_b_7303336.html
Nuclear insurance pool: Foreign firms interested to pitch in, says GIC, Economic Times 17 May 15NEW DELHI: With the Indian nuclear insurance pool falling short by Rs 600 crore towards becoming operational, some foreign companies have shown an interest in being a part of the initiative.
“We are also pursuing private sector companies… Six companies came with Rs 150 crore. Now, it has become 900 crore. We are putting all our efforts into raising the remaining Rs 600 crore for operationalising the pool,” said Y Ramulu, GM of General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India.
Clauses in the Act which give the operator the Right to Recourse and allow it to sue the suppliers in case of any accident were seen as being a major hindrance to the growth of the nuclear industry. These concerns led to to the formation of the Indian nuclear insurance pool. ……
The government was also initially toying with the idea of a catastrophe bond, but Ramulu said that may not take off anytime soon. ……
“We are also hoping for government support in this case,” Ramulu said.
Sources said the government may throw in sovereign guarantee to address the concerns of foreign suppliers over the nuclear liability law.
India’s Nuclear Scientists Are Dying Mysteriously And Nobody Seems To Be Worried http://www.scoopwhoop.com/news/nuclear-scientists-mysterious-deaths/ Safwat Zargar May 11 , 2015 This might come as a surprise, but many Indian nuclear scientists since 2009 have died ‘mysteriously’ and what perturbs a common mind is the police’s careless attitude terming these deaths as ‘suicides’ and ‘unexplained’.
Between 2009 and 2013 at least 10 employees from the department of atomic energy (DAE) have lost their lives mysteriously, a News Minute report notes.
In fact, nearly 50 years after the death of the ‘father of Indian nuclear programme’ Homi J Bhabha in a controversial plane crash in France, nothing substantial explaining the cause of crash has been brought before public.
According to the report, Dr. Bhabha had died in an air crash after he publicly said India could produce a nuclear device in a short time. The crash had reportedly taken place in the Swiss Alps near Mt. Blanc and no debris was ever found. – VIDEO
Is there a reason that connects the deaths of all these scientists?
India’s Prime Minister Modi talks about alleviating poverty, but the big money goes on nuclear weapons
First was the announcement on April 10 that India would buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France at a cost of some 4 billion dollars. The second was six days later when India test fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 3,000 km and capable of carrying warheads weighing over a ton..
Nuclear missiles don’t come cheap, and of course we don’t know and will never be told the real cost of any country’s nuclear weapons’ program, but an expert estimate for India in 2011 was five billion dollars a year which is a substantial chunk of the national budget.
Third was the report that “US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is likely to visit India next month when the two sides are expected to ink the nearly $2.5 billion deal for 22 Apache [attack] and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.” India’s financial commitment to the purchase of foreign military hardware is increasing day by day and there seems no end to the list of expensive weaponry being acquired. The billions of dollars are mounting up. There is no apparent ceiling to military expenditure, and neither is there a limit to acquisition of wealth by India’s growing number of mega-rich, as evidenced by the proudly broadcast news that India now has 90 billionaires (total worth $295 billion) and wasreported on May 7 as being “home to 56 of the world’s 2,000 largest and most powerful public companies.”
But then there is an interesting description of the other side of the Indian coin by Jean-Pierre Lehman, a visiting professor at a university in Rajasthan, about 70 miles from Delhi, who has no axe to grind butrecords and evaluates the Indian scene as he sees it at first hand:
Upon reaching the outskirts of Jaipur, the scene switches to hundreds and hundreds of dilapidated makeshift tents beneath which people live – or perhaps more accurately manage more or less to survive. This is far worse than poverty. It is destitution. It is people living in what can only be described as bestial conditions. There is of course no access to sanitation; people cook their meagre repasts on coal furnaces inside the tents — one of the major causes of death in India. The contrast with the swankiness of some of the residential and business districts of Jaipur is of chasm proportions — a vividly desperate illustration of the growing inequality in India. That people, our fellow humans, should live in such conditions in the early 21st century is a terrible indictment of Jaipur, of Rajasthan, of India, and indeed of humanity in general.
It is doubtful that anybody could convince them of a need for jet fighters, nuclear missiles or attack helicopters.
Like all the poor around the world — most notably in India’s neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in America and Britain and almost everywhere else — those at the bottom of the economic pile in India have no voice, no dignity, no hope. Some politicians do try hard to help them. Prime Minister Modi is their leader and is certainly not hypocritical in that regard, unlike his enormously rich counterpart in Pakistan, but he won’t be able to alleviate poverty in his country for so long as he permits such massive military expenditure. India was the world’s largest importer of military material in 2014 and the government authorized over 40 billion dollars in this year’s budget, excluding dozens of new commitments — so the nuclear missiles, fighter jets, and helicopters are only a start.
India’s military equipment order books include 7 frigates, at about ten billion dollars; another 400 helicopters for two billion or so; hundreds of medium artillery guns for at least 3 billion; 6 submarines costing 9 billion; and payment for a galaxy of other equipment whose manufacture will also provide massive employment — but mainly in other countries, and even in India only for the tiny number of those who are trained craftsmen (no women, of course). India’s poor will benefit from neither profits nor work, because the money will go nowhere near them and they are unqualified for all but the most simple and meanest of jobs………….
And it’s not just in India that this applies. If the leaders of India could manage to sit down with those of Pakistan and China — the nations against whom India’s military policy and posture are directed — and come to agreement about longstanding territorial disputes, then the roads to true prosperity would begin to open in all three countries.
There are faults in the stances of China and Pakistan concerning their disagreements with India on border matters, but India has not helped in any way by being aggressively inflexible concerning mediation and it is time for false pride to be replaced by pragmatism and common sense. Disputes and confrontation over territory are futile and counter-productive and in this case have contributed enormously to these countries’ perceived requirement for masses of vastly expensive nuclear weapons and other military hardware.
Emphasizing national pride is an important political tool, and nuclear weapons are very impressive in an macabre sort of way. Unfortunately in pursuit of both it is always the poor who suffer most. Mr Modi is one of the few world leaders who could move to change this appalling state of affairs, and it must be hoped that he will place the interests of his half-billion poverty stricken citizens to the forefront of national policy. His “ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty” must not be allowed to dim.
Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France. http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/08/indias-nuclear-poverty/
Greenpeace India could close within a month due to government crackdown Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 6 May 15 Organisation faces 340 job losses in what would be the only forced closure since it was founded in 1971 because Indian government has frozen its bank accounts Greenpeace India will be forced to close within a month with the loss of 340 jobs because of a government crackdown on its funding, the organisation’s chief has warned.
The Indian home ministry froze seven bank accounts connected with the organisation last month, the latest in a series of moves against the NGO since Narendra Modi’s government came to power.
The international group said that if it was forced to close the Indian operation, it would be the first time since it was founded in 1971 that one of its national organisations was forcibly closed down………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/05/greenpeace-india-could-close-within-a-month-due-to-government-crackdown
International call not to sell uranium to India http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/media-release/international-call-not-sell-uranium-india April 15, 2015
Canadian and Australian governments not to further advance controversial plans for uranium sales to India.
The call comes as Australian nuclear free campaigners join Indigenous landowners affected by uranium projects to present at the World Uranium Symposium in Québec.
The conference takes place against the backdrop of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s trip New Delhi to advance planned uranium sales.
“Canada and Australia should show responsibility restraint and prudence, as India has been criticised widely over the safety, security and transparency of its nuclear industry,” ACF’s Dave Sweeney said. “Australia and Canada should not rush into uranium sales agreements with India while serious concerns about safety and security remain unresolved.”
Australia’s controversial uranium deal with India has been widely criticised, including by former safeguards director John Carlson, who was for two decades head of Australia’s safeguards regime and was a keen nuclear promoter. Mr Carlson has raised concernsthat the new treaty’s administrative arrangements could substantially depart from Australia’s usual safeguards conditions, meaning Australia may be unable to keep track of what happens to uranium supplied to India.
Speaking from Québec ACF’s Dave Sweeney called on the Canadian and Australian governments not to further fuel instability in South Asia by selling uranium into the already volatile region.
“Uranium is not like other minerals. It is the fuel for nuclear weapons and creates carcinogenic waste that lasts for thousands of years,” he said. “Fuelling danger and instability in India is not in the interests of Canada or Australia.”
Canada-India uranium deal will spur proliferation, experts warn Arms control experts say Canada sends the wrong signal to countries that play by the rules By Evan Dyer, CBC News 17 Apr 15 India test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile Thursday, just hours after signing a deal to buy 3,000 tons of Canadian uranium.The Agni-III missile, which has a range of over 3,000 kilometres, was fired from the Indian army’s test range on Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal. India declared the test a success…….While the terms of this week’s deal are not public, the nuclear cooperation agreement, first announced in 2010 and finalized in 2013, includes assurances that India use Canadian material for civilian purposes only……..
some nuclear proliferation experts say India has been able to make such a deal without abiding by the rules set out for most other countries that abide by the international non-proliferation regime. And they warn that countries the West has been attempting to bring into the rules-based system — such as Iran — will be less inclined to submit when they see the rules don’t apply to India.
Canadian technology used to gain bomb…..Of particular concern to the rest of the world was that India developed its bomb using nuclear material from a reactor it had acquired from Canada ostensibly for civilian use……..
Some experts fear Canada appears to be selling India uranium with fewer controls and conditions than it typically demands from NNPT member countries that do play by the rules.
“Normally there’s some sort of tracking and accounting system so that Canada would be receiving information from India very specifically about what Canada-sourced material is being used for,” says Trevor Findlay, a senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Managing the Atom project.
“In this case, because the agreement [to buy the uranium] is secret, we have no idea whether that’s in place, and it probably isn’t because the Indians have been pushing against that,” he told The Current.
Findlay and other experts warn that the special treatment for India shows other governments a country can ignore the rules, build the bomb, tough it out for a few decades and emerge on the other side as an accepted nuclear weapons power.
Already, Pakistan says the deals give India a strategic advantage, and Pakistan has blocked preliminary talks on the most important arms control initiative in years: a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty that would ban future production of weapons-grade material.http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-india-uranium-deal-will-spur-proliferation-experts-warn-1.3036540
India government trying to shut us down: Greenpeace ABC 16 Apr 15 Greenpeace believes the Indian government has blocked donations from being deposited in its bank accounts, both locally and internationally.
The latest allegation comes less than a week after the right-wing government suspended the environmental watchdog’s foreign funding licence and blocked several of its bank accounts, citing violations of rules governing international financial transactions.
Following the ban, Greenpeace said, many donors even in India were unable to deposit money into the group’s local accounts. It said it suspected the accounts had been blocked by the government.
The group described the fresh step as an all-out attack by the government to “suppress democracy and silence those with an alternative vision of development”. The government has also blocked our domestic accounts and is now preventing ordinary Indians from supporting our work for clean air, healthy forests, pesticide-free food and a liveable environment,” Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India, said in a statement………http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/04/15/4217058.htm
The Union Home Ministry on Thursday suspended the official registration for foreign funding of Greenpeace India for six months and froze seven bank accounts connected with the organisation, The Hindu, a local newspaper, reported.
Samit Aich, the executive director of Greenpeace, said the move was “an attack on democracy”.
“They don’t like the questions we are raising. We are environmental activists asking questions about the environment. There has been intimidation, illegal attacks for some time now,” he said……..
In January a Greenpeace campaigner was stopped by Indian officials from travelling to the UK to deliver a talk to MPs about the impact of mining on a poor communities and the environment in central India.
Government agencies had also found that “in the past couple of years, several UK nationals, including cyber experts and activists, had visited Greenpeace’s offices in India allegedly to help it organise protest activities”, the newspaper said.
In January the Indian government was told by judges to unblock funds received by Greenpeace which have been frozen by authorities since June.
The high court in Delhi, the capital, ruled that the previous freeze on funds that Greenpeace India had received from abroad was “arbitrarily illegal” and “unconstitutional”.
Over the past year, there have been a series of measures targeting Greenpeace and several other international NGOs working on similar environmental issues in India.
An intelligence report prepared for the incoming government of Narendra Modi, which took power after a landslide electoral win in May, accused several foreign-funded NGOs of stalling major infrastructure projects at the behest of unidentified foreign powers.
The report, which was leaked to the press, claimed that “people-centric” campaigns organised by NGOs blocked projects in seven sectors – nuclear power, uranium mining, thermal and hydroelectric power, farm biotechnology, extractive industries, and mega industrial projects – were aimed at keeping India in “a state of underdevelopment”.
In June, the government barred Greenpeace from receiving funds from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation – some 30% of its funding. The remaining 70% is raised from local supporters in India. About £180,000 was frozen, before courts ordered its release.
Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had complained that foreign-funded NGOs were blocking the expansion of nuclear power and the introduction of genetically modified products. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/10/greenpeace-bank-accounts-frozen-by-indian-government
Despite opposition and problems about liability, Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to buy nuclear reactors
In France, where Modi is making his first visit since taking office last year, he will seek to speed up price negotiations for the building of two reactors by state-run Areva SA of 1,650 megawatts each in the western state of Maharashtra………
Global Watchdog Slams India’s Nuclear Regulations NDTV All India | Written by Pallava Bagla | Updated: March 27, 2015 NEW DELHI: India’s atomic regulatory body is not independent and lacks internal emergency arrangements, a draft report by the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has said.
India, it also said, should allow more safety inspections of nuclear plants by independent bodies. These
facts have often been stated by anti-nuclear activists.
The experts of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service made their assessment after visiting various nuclear facilities during a 12-day trip to India at the invitation of the government.
India and Pakistan Locked in a Nuclear Naval Arms Race A new report provides a useful summary of the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean. The Diplomat By Franz-Stefan Gady March 28, 2015 A while back, I reported on the murky detailssurrounding Pakistan’s sea-based nuclear deterrent. Much of it remains a mystery, including its future submarine force.
Conversely, the Indian Navy still does not have a capable ballistic missile with which to arm the INS Arihant – New Delhi’s only ballistic missile submarine (which only began sea trials in December). India’s submarine fleet is also experiencing difficulties in maintaining its readiness rate, which has dropped below 40 percent.
However, both India and Pakistan are set to continue to develop their naval nuclear forces, as a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace points out. Yet, this should not automatically be a cause for alarm, Iskander Rehman, the author of a newly released Carnegie policy paper, argues.
“By further institutionalizing relations between their navies and by insisting on stronger transparency with regard to naval nuclear developments, both countries may succeed in adding a greater degree of stability to what otherwise promises to be a dangerously volatile maritime environment,” he notes.
Rehman highlights a few other interesting points about the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean:
- India’s pursuit of a sea-based nuclear strike force is the next logical step in its quest for an assured retaliatory capability.
- To enjoy an effective sea-based deterrent vis-à-vis China, India’s other prospective nuclear adversary, New Delhi has to develop larger SSBNs with greater missile carriage capacity and more powerful nuclear reactors.
- Pakistan’s naval nuclear ambitions are fueled primarily by the sense of a growing conventional, rather than strategic, imbalance between New Delhi and Islamabad.
- By dispersing low-yield nuclear weapons across a variety of naval platforms, Islamabad aims to acquire escalation dominance and greater strategic depth and to reduce the incentives for a preemptive strike on its nuclear assets.
Interestingly, Rehman also underlines that, “the submarine-based leg of India’s nuclear triad will have a major impact on the nation’s existing command-and-control arrangements.”…….http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/india-and-pakistan-locked-in-a-nuclear-naval-arms-race/
Renewables to Get Most of $1 Billion ExIm Bank Credit Reed Landberg (Bloomberg) 27 Mar 15 – Renewable energy developers will receive “the vast majority” of a $1 billion credit line the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. extended to India, the institution’s president said.
Regulatory policies in India, including terms for selling power, are conducive to financing solar- and wind-power projects, and make it easier for the bank to ensure it will be repaid, said Fred Hochberg, who is also chairman of the Washington-based lender.
The comments are an indication that the ExIm bank’s funding for renewables is poised to rise ….. The credit line sealed during President Barack Obama’s visit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January is part of the U.S. effort to back an unprecedented expansion of clean energy in developing nations and check rising pollution blamed for global warming.
Modi wants to install by 2022 five times as many photovoltaics as the U.S. has now, an ambition that may cost $160 billion, according to the Council on Energy, Environment & Water, a research group in New Delhi. Obama wants India to join in a global deal limiting greenhouse gases, and India’s ministers are seeking financial support from the West to cut the cost of emissions.
The U.S. developer SunEdison Inc. announced in January plans to build as much as 5 gigawatts of wind and solar power in India, and First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar manufacturer, is also developing power plants in the country. Regulations in India permit power purchase agreements that extend as long as 20 years. That makes it easier for banks to finance solar and wind projects…….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-26/renewables-to-get-most-of-1-billion-exim-bank-credit
Australia and India face a graver test than cricket Against the backdrop of Australia and India squaring up in the World Cup cricket, the two nations now face a test with much graver consequences, write Dave Sweeney and Jim Green. SBS News, 26 Mar 15 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed a uranium deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last September, he praised India’s “absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record”. This praise came despite the reality that India is actively expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal and its missile delivery capabilities.
Mr Abbott declined to answer serious questions about India’s nuclear weapons program or the inadequate safety standards in and inadequate regulation of its civil nuclear program. Instead, he offered a cricketing cliché, declaring that Australia and India trust each other on issues like uranium safeguards because of “the fundamentally ethical principle that every cricketer is supposed to assimilate – play by the rules and accept the umpire’s decision”.
Gaining comfort from clichés while ignoring inconvenient truths might work for those in Canberra and mining company boardrooms but it fails any real world test.
The proposed India uranium agreement is currently being considered by federal parliament’s treaties committee, and it has yet to be ratified by parliament. Submissions to the treaties committee have raised many serious concerns − and not just from the usual suspects.
Those raising concerns and objections include John Carlson, former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office; Ron Walker, former Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors; Prof. Lawrence Scheinman, former Assistant Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Princeton University physicist Dr M.V. Ramana; and nuclear arms control expert Crispin Rovere.
The uranium agreement with India weakens Australia’s nuclear safeguards standards, increases the chances of Australian uranium finding its way into Indian weapons and would lead to further undermining of nuclear checks and balances. If the uranium agreement is approved there will be sustained pressure for Australia to apply equally inadequate standards to other uranium customer countries. As John Carlson notes in his submission: “If the Government does compromise Australia’s safeguards conditions, inevitably this will lead to other agreement partners asking for similar treatment.”
Mr Carlson’s critique carries particular weight given that for over two decades he was the head of Australia’s nuclear safeguards office……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/26/comment-australia-and-india-face-graver-test-cricket
IS THE INDIA NUCLEAR AGREEMENT REALLY THE ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ OBAMA PROMISED? Chauthi Duniya, March 20th, 2015 Analysts and experts familiar with the negotiations say that the legal issues remain so complex that private U.S. companies may continue to shy away from new deals in India,….
The Indian Government has already slated sites for nuclear power facilities for Westinghouse Toshiba in the western state of Gujarat and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in the state of Andhra Pradesh. “My feeling is that there’s not as much there,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the nonprofit Arms Control Association, a non-proliferation watchdog group. “The real test is, will GE or Westinghouse say ‘this is good enough for us’ or not and whether they will sign contracts.”…….
The key issue will be whether the conflict between international law and Indian law can be waved away by a memorandum from India’s Attorney General. The memorandum would have to say that the 2010 liability law “doesn’t mean what it says,” said a Washington lawyer familiar with the issues but who asked for anonymity to protect his professional relationships. Continue reading
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