The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Protest repressed in India, as government panders to France, USA

the international nuclear industry has faced its worst crisis globally. The industry is looking at India as a big market where they can compensate for their losses and revive their fortunes. India has become an attractive market for global nuclear corporations


France Peddles Unsafe Nuclear Reactors to India, Drawing Protest 29 January 2016  By Kumar Hollande-salesSundaram, Truthout | News Analysis  On January 26, French President François Hollande was the chief guest for India’s Republic Day ceremony, where India showcases its military hardware in a colonial-era parade in its capital. Meanwhile, in Jaitapur on India’s western coast, farmers and fisherfolk were protesting against Hollande’s visit, arguing that the nuclear reactors that India is importing from France threaten their lives, livelihoods and the local ecology.

The Joint Declaration: Localizing Risk, Siphoning Off Profit

In a joint declaration issued on January 25 in New Delhi, the two governments reaffirmed their commitment to go ahead with a long-pending nuclear deal. As per the declaration, the intense negotiations to finalize the commercial agreement are expected to conclude by the end of this year, and the construction of six European pressurized reactors (EPR) imported from France is to begin by early 2017.

The new twist in the declaration is the “maximum localization” of the project and “technology transfer” for the same. Although the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have proudly included these new terms and added a “Made in India” tag on the Jaitapur project, it actually means that the French industry would be transferring the burden of its most controversial reactor design at a time of its worst crisis.

The safety vulnerabilities of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) – the huge iron core where radioactive fission takes place – came under serious questions, raised by France’s own nuclear safety regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) in April 2015. Later in 2015, Areva, the French reactor builder, had to ask the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend certification review for EPR design. The United States has been postponing certification for EPR since 2007. The Finnish regulator has taken Areva to court on this issue, and Finland has canceled the order for its second EPR. Just two days after the publication of ASN’s report, Modi reaffirmed the EPR deal from France during his visit to Paris in April 2015. It is exactly this controversial component – the RPV – that an Indian private company L&T will now be building, with no experience in the nuclear sector at all.

The current phase of negotiations on Jaitapur is about the price of reactors, which remains a major sticking point. Although the former chief of India’s Atomic Energy Commission promised a tariff of a maximum of 10 US cents per unit for the electricity produced in Jaitapur, independent experts have claimed it will be much higher (20 to 30 cents per unit). This means the government of India would use taxpayers’ money to keep the price competitive. If we go by the cost of EPRs in the United Kingdom, each Indian reactor may cost as much as $8.9 billion. Two reactors in Jaitapur’s first phase will cost as much as India’s total expenditure on science and technology (including the departments of space, science and technology, biotechnology, and research for the entire country). A diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks quoted the general manager of the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPCIL), saying that India is paying a “high” price for Jaitapur………….

The Indian government has managed to acquire land for the project by pressuring farmers and luring a handful of landlords. Despite land acquisition, the farmers in Jaitapur continue to resist. Most villagers either work on others’ land or provide rural services to the agrarian community and do not get any compensation when villages are dislocated for “development” projects. Tabrez Soyekar, a young fisherman, was killed in an indiscriminate police shooting in April 2011, during a peaceful protest. Hundreds of activists and eminent citizens, including the former Navy chief of India and retired justice of the Supreme Court of India, were detainedduring a protest march.

Thirteen village councils in Jaitapur passed unanimous resolutions against the project as recently as November 2015. It is utterly hypocritical for both countries to laud each other’s democratic credentials for international diplomacy if the democratically elected village councils are neglected violently……..

Independent energy experts in India, including a former top official in the Ministry of Power, have argued for a decentralized energy framework that would suit India better, as the majority of its population still lives in villages scattered across the country and transmission losses in centralized Indian grids are staggering.

The 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report concludes that, after the Fukushima accident, the international nuclear industry has faced its worst crisis globally. The industry is looking at India as a big market where they can compensate for their losses and revive their fortunes. India has become an attractive market for global nuclear corporations, where the government is mortgaging its financial and environmental health to welcome them. This includes channeling the accident liability to the public; undermining environmental, geological and safety laws; and ignoring the measured advice of independent experts.

Besides Jaitapur, massive and intense anti-nuclear protests have arisen in Koodankulam, Mithi Virdi and Kovvada, where Russian and US corporations are setting up nuclear power plants. Local communities in other places like Chutka, Fatehabad and Mahi Banswara have also been agitating against the nuclear projects. The government has resorted to brutal crackdowns and repression against these consistently peaceful protests. More than 8,000 people in Koodankulam are facing fabricated police cases under colonial-era sedition laws and charges of waging war against the Indian state. The police have killedarrested and harassed villagers indiscriminately, including women and children. They surrounded the Idinthakarai village in 2012 and disrupted its vital supply lines that deliver goods, including food and milk for children and medicines, to force the village to surrender. One of the first steps that the new government under Modi took in 2015 was to come up with a “confidential” report by the Intelligence Bureau, naming Greenpeace, the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, and other anti-nuclear and environmentalist organizations “anti-national.”

January 30, 2016 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Community and environmental impact of the Jaitapur nuclear power project

flag-indiaFrance Peddles Unsafe Nuclear Reactors to India, Drawing Protest 29 January 2016  By Kumar Sundaram, Truthout | News Analysis “………the concerns of the local community in Jaitapur go beyond the cost of the project. Jaitapur is located in the stunningly beautiful Konkan region, replete with verdant plateaus, magical mountains and undulating hills, lagoons, creeks, the open sea and infinite greenery. The NPCIL has labeled nearly 65 percent of the land as “barren,” despite the fact that Konkan is one of the world’s 10 “biodiversity hotspots,” sheltering over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 of mammals, 508 of birds and 179 of amphibians, including 325 globally threatened species.

Koncan region India (Jaitapur)

Altogether, the nuclear park would jeopardize the livelihoods of 40,000 people. The annual turnover of Jaitapur’s fishing villages is about $2.2 million. In Nate Village alone, there are 200 big trawlers and 250 small boats. Nearly 6,000 people depend directly on fishing and over 10,000 are dependent on ancillary activities.

The community is apprehensive that the elaborate security arrangements around the project would block the fisherfolks’ use of the two creeks of Jaitapur and Vijaydurg. The fish population will also be affected since the nuclear plant would release a massive 52 billion liters of hot water into the Arabian Sea daily, raising the local sea temperature by 5 to 7 degrees Celsius.

Jaitapur has highly fertile land, which produces rice and other cereals, and arguably the world’s most famous mango, the Alphonso. Cashews, coconuts, kokum, betel nuts, pineapples and other fruits are found in abundance. The land is also quite productive in terms of its use for cattle-grazing and rain-fed agriculture.

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Jaitapur, conducted by the government-run National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), did not even look into the crucial aspects of radiological releases, decommissioning and nuclear waste, besides summarily neglecting the vital issues of ecosystems and livelihoods, terrestrial ecosystems and farming, mangrove forests and the fragile marine ecology and fisheries in the region.

NEERI admits it does not have any expertise in radiation-related issues and it just mentioned in its report that all the stipulations of the government’s nuclear regulator would be followed. The then-minister for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh, had himself termed these EIA assessments a joke. Even that environmental clearance, granted on 35 absurdly weak conditions, was given only for a period of five years, which lapsed as of November 2015. Citizens groups and independent experts have demanded a fresh EIA in place of an extension………

January 30, 2016 Posted by | environment, India, Reference | Leave a comment

Solar business India: coal develop makes the switch to solar

India Coal Plant Developer Switches to Solar for Site in Punjab, Bloomberg Business,  29 Jan 16 

  • RattanIndia to convert 800-acre site to PV instead of coal
  • Company to raise 6 billion rupees for current solar projects
  • A prominent developer of coal-fired power plants in India is seeking to switch to solar for an 800-acre (324-hectare) site in Punjab it had earmarked for another thermal plant, saying the economics of photovoltaics are more attractive.

    RattanIndia Power Ltd. which has 1.6 gigawatts of thermal capacity in central India, asked government permission to install solar panels at the site in Punjab instead of the coal plant it was planning, said Rajiv Rattan, chairman of RattanIndia Group.

    “In the next three to four years, you will see the entire 800 acres getting used for solar,” Rattan said in an interview.

     The decision highlights increasing interest in India’s solar program after Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out a target to install 100 gigawatts of capacity by 2020 at an estimated cost of $100 billion. Incentives and regulations designed to draw finance from companies to help meet the target have attracted a handful of overseas developers to bid in auctions for power contracts in India, reducing the cost of solar electricity to a record low.

    RattanIndia is the only domestic firm to take on large foreign companies in Indian government auctions for solar contracts, which were dominated by SunEdison Inc. of the U.S., SoftBank Group Corp. from Japan, Fortum OYJ of Finland and Solairedirect Group from France.

    RattanIndia has made a bold statement by making aggressive bids and competing with foreign companies in large government solar tenders where most Indian corporates were out, the solar research firm Bridge to India said……….

  • The cost of solar power touched a record low of 4.34 rupees (or 6 cents) a kilowatt-hour for contracts awarded on Jan. 19 in the sunny southern state of Rajasthan, where a total of 420 megawatts of capacity was granted…….

January 30, 2016 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

Untested and unsafe technology ? Jaitapur nuclear power station

Modi,-Narendra-USALast year on the Republic Day, to please the United States President Obama who was the chief guest, Modi government effectively surrendered the govt’s option to sue the nuclear vendors in case of a nuclear accident by creating an insurance pool from public funds to channel suppliers’ liability back to the taxpayers, taking an about turn from earlier strong reservations of the BJP on nuclear liability.

This year, Modi’s government seems bent on finalising an insanely dangerous and destructive nuclear project.

flag-indiaAnother Republic Day, another compromise on nuclear safety? A year after giving in on nuclear liability during Barack Obama’s visit, India’s enthusiasm to seal a deal with France on the expensive and dangerous Jaitapur nuclear project is disturbing. Scroll In 28 Jan 16 Kumar Sundaram  On Tuesday, chief guest Francois Hollande looked on as India showcased its military might at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. Nearly 2,000-km away in Maharashtra, farmers and fisherfolk in the port town of Jaitapur are gearing up to protest the French president’s visit. They believe that the nuclear reactors India wants to import from France pose a threat to their lives, livelihoods and the local ecology.

Untested and unsafe technology

In the joint declaration issued on Monday in New Delhi, the two governments reaffirmed their commitment to go ahead with the nuclear deal. The project has been in the pipeline for almost a decade now, and last several bilateral annoucements have ceremoniously menioned the nuclear agreement. The intense negotiations to finalise the commercial agreement are yet to be completed as the staggering cost of the project remains a major sticking point.

The Modi government has added “make in India” in the declaration, a reference to the prime minister’s ambitious plan to turn India into a hub of manufacturing. Now, this is more than a ceremonial insertion and has potentially dangerous implications. The joint declaration mentions “large-scale localisation” of components for the nuclear power project at Jaitapur, a Memorandum of Understanding for which was signed between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and French government-owned nuclear corporation Areva last year. “Transfer of technology” is also being considered, claims the declaration.

The French company Areva, which is verging on bankruptcy after the Fukushima disaster, desperately needs this project to survive. Its terminal financial crisis has also led to a major re-structuring in France. To save Areva from bankruptcy, the Électricité de France, a govt owned electricity utility company has bought majority stake in Areva. Areva has resorted to massive job cuts – it did 6,000 lay offs worldwide in 2015 – and is frantically seeking investorsto rescue itself from the crisis.

It is actually this financial crisis that has forced Areva to consider partial closure and outsourcing of its reactor manufacturing business. There too, it is giving away only the parts which it cannot absolutely manage on its own for financial and safety reasons. And the European Pressurised Reactor design fits in this scheme. France is building reactors in Jaitapur of the same design, of 1650MWe capacity each. Totalling 9,900 Mwe, Jaitapur would be the world’s largest nuclear power park.

The safety of this design, especially the vulnerabilities of the Reactor Pressure Vessel – the huge iron core where radioactive fission takes place – came under serious questions, raised by France’s own nuclear safety regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire in April last year. Later in 2015, Areva had to ask the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend certification review for EPR design. The US has been postponing certification for the European Pressurised Reactor( since 2007. In Finland’s Olkiluoto, the only other place where Areva is building these reactors, the project was supposed to be completed in 2009 but has run into massive cost and time over-run and cannot be completed before 2018. The Finnish regulator has taken Areva to the court on this issue and Finland has cancelled the order for the 4th reactor. Even in China’s Taishan, the only other place where such a reactor is under construction, the project has been delayed. Ironically, just after two days of publication of Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire’s report, Modi re-affirmed the commitment to buy the reactors from France during his visit to Paris last year in April.

In another extremely dangerous irony, the Modi govt is lauding Jaitapur as a “Make in India” project. The localisation in this case is nothing more than Areva passing off its burden and risks to Indian companies. Without much experience in nuclear sector, Larsen and Toubro has been given the task of collaborating in manufacturing of pressure vessel, the same crucial equipment in which the French regulator has found vulnerabilities. There is also pressure on L&T to keep the cost to the minimum, which would have its own safety implications. Technology transfer in this case actually means experimenting an untested and unsafe technology on the Indian people……….

U-turns and misadventures

For its entire 10-year entire stint in the opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party kept opposing Manmohan Singh government’s nuclear policy, but now nuclear deals have become matters of pride for Modi’s foreign sojourns. In 2010, the BJP had sought a review of the environmental clearance given to the Jaitapur project on the eve of the visit of the then French president Nicholas Sarkozy. But now the government has sought an extension of the same.

Last year on the Republic Day, to please the United States President Obama who was the chief guest, Modi government effectively surrendered the govt’s option to sue the nuclear vendors in case of a nuclear accident by creating an insurance pool from public funds to channel suppliers’ liability back to the taxpayers, taking an about turn from earlier strong reservations of the BJP on nuclear liability.

This year, Modi’s government seems bent on finalising an insanely dangerous and destructive nuclear project.

Kumar Sundaram is Senior Researcher with the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, India.

January 28, 2016 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

France’s President Hollande visits India, hoping to market nuclear reactors

Hollande-salesFrance Signals Rafale, Nuclear Progress as Hollande Visits India, Bloomberg,  HeleneFouquet January 24, 2016 France signaled a state-to-state accord with India could be signed on Monday over a deal for 36 Dassault Aviation SA Rafale fighter jets, and that a six-year-old plan to build nuclear reactors in the South Asian nation would see some progress…………

The reactors are planned for Jaitapur, a coastal town in India’s western province of Maharashtra. Areva was seeking further clarity from India on its nuclear liability law before moving ahead with what would be India’s biggest nuclear plant.

The agreement India and the U.S signed recently over insurance-related issues for nuclear plants will help in overcoming certain hurdles, Royal said.

 India last year pledged to create a 15 billion rupee ($222 million) insurance pool to shield nuclear plant operators, as well as equipment suppliers, against damages during an accident. Some have argued the pool may not be sufficient.

January 24, 2016 Posted by | France, India, marketing | Leave a comment

No response fro India’s PM Modi to Shiv Sena’s report on Jaitapur nuclear plant

PMO yet to respond to Shiv Sena’s report on Jaitapur nuclear plant By PTI | 21 Jan, 2016, MUMBAI: Shiv Sena is yet to receive a response from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on a report it sent more than a month ago detailing “adverse” impact the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant would have on the green belt in Maharashtra’ Konkan region.

Sena, a key constituent of BJP-led ruling alliances in Maharashtra and at the Centre, is strongly opposing the mega nuclear plant at Jaitapur on the ground it will “adversely” impact the fragile ecosystem in the coast region. …….

January 22, 2016 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

US nuclear corporation salivates at thought of selling reactors to India

Buy-US-nukesAhead Of PM Modi’s Trip To US, Hopes For A Major Nuclear Reactor Deal, NDTV Modi,-Narendra-USA

All India | Reuters  January 15, 2016 NEW DELHI:  Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric hopes to clinch a deal to build six nuclear reactors in India by end-March, its CEO said, in time for a possible visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington to attend a global nuclear summit.

A Westinghouse team is already in India to negotiate the deal, Chief Executive Daniel Roderick told news agency Reuters, but talks are likely to go down to the wire, as the crucial issue of nuclear liability insurance for suppliers remains unresolved. The aim, however, was to make a “commercially significant announcement” during PM Modi’s expected US visit in March and sign a final contract later in the year, Mr Roderick said.

A US diplomat said the United States had invited PM Modi to the March 31-April 1 Nuclear Security Summit and that Washington was thinking of turning the trip into a full-fledged official visit, which would give the Indian leader a similar reception as Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Westinghouse contract would give a big boost to India’s $150 billion nuclear power programme…….

The Westinghouse deal would be the first nuclear commercial power project since the United States and India first struck an agreement to cooperate in the civil nuclear arena a decade ago.

India has given two sites to US companies – Westinghouse and a nuclear venture between General Electric Co and Hitachi – to build six reactors each.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Indian officials unwilling to answer questions about nuclear emergency guidelines

see-no-evilflag-indiaOfficials pass the buck on RTI queries on NDMA guidelines

 January 8, 2016  Dennis S. Jesudasan In yet another case of officials in various government departments passing the buck when information has been sought under the RTI Act, the district administration in Tirunelveli district and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) have forwarded to each other queries on the implementation of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Guidelines in the district.

G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental forum had sought to know whether the NDMA Guidelines on Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies released in 2009 had been implemented in the district.

He also sought information on the infrastructure such as hospitals identified to treat radiological emergencies as per the guidelines.

The Public Information Officer (PIO) in Tirunelveli Collectorate, in his reply to the applicant, stated that the request was being forwarded to his counterpart in Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, as the latter was the officer concerned for the details sought for.

The Public Information Officer at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant of NPCIL on December 29 replied contending it was the District Management Authority, which was the authority concerned and returned the queries to the PIO of Tirunelveli Collectorate.

Mr. Sundarrajan said, “The Supreme Court was, in 2013, informed that all precautionary measures were taken and now they are denying information on the details of the implementation. This is anti-constitutional, anti-people and illegal. They cannot deny or point at each other when asked for information.”

Tirunelveli District Collector M. Karunakaran told The Hindu , “The applicant has not sent the queries to the right person, i.e., the DRDA, which deals with the information and the PIO in Collectorate would not have the information. If information is sought from the right person, it would have been provided.” When contacted by The Hindu , an NPCIL official said, on condition of anonymity, “There has been some misunderstanding among officials in some departments of the district administration on this issue. We complied with the implementation of the guidelines on our part.”

Info sought under RTI Act whether suggestions

on nuclear emergencies were implemented

January 8, 2016 Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Report of India’s Integrated Regulatory Review Services (IRRS) on Atomic Energy Board

India’s nuclear regulators have been audited, THE HINDU, MP RAM MOHAN ELS REYNAERS KINI , 3 JAN 16   But what’s the point? Parliament hasn’t passed the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill 2015 as yet

 After the Fukushima accident and at the request of the Indian government, an IAEA team consisting of senior safety experts undertook an Integrated Regulatory Review Services (IRRS) Mission on the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) from March 16 to 27, 2015. This was the first IRRS mission to India, and was restricted only to nuclear power plants.

Now, the full IRRS report has been made public and can be viewed on the AERB’s website. This is certainly one of the most significant transparency efforts initiated by the AERB in recent times. The authors believe this signals an important commitment to adopt a new public engagement model. At a substantive level, the IRRS team identified several good practices, but also areas warranting attention or in need of improvement, to enhance the overall performance of the regulatory system in India………

Many in civil society and the AERB itself in private communication maintain that its “de facto” independence should be cemented in a law “de jure” as well. That said, the IRRS mission observed that the “professionalism and integrity of the AEC, NPCIL and AERB senior staff towards ensuring the regulatory decision making processes/arrangements were completed independently and did not notice instances in which de facto AERB independence was compromised”.

Another important aspect that would need to be addressed is the grievance redress system or appeal procedure against decisions by the AERB. Currently, the constitution of the AERB states that appeals against decisions of the AERB shall be with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) whose decision shall be final. Here, the IRRS mission remained rather timid by merely referring to and not fully suggesting a more coherent appeal procedure which would be more in tune with a fully independent mechanism.

Addressing grievances

This is regrettable because one of the most important functions in any democratic system is the redressal of grievances, whether sought by an operator, a service provider, the public or anyone who has a role in an NPP activity. Moreover, the AERB constitution remains vague as to precisely who can appeal. These are aspects that also would need to be addressed more comprehensively to ensure that the public has faith in the nuclear regulatory system. The current redressal system also explains why people so far have generally opted to approach the courts with their grievances, rather than the AEC.

The DAE and the AERB should consider the IRRS mission review and many such suggestions of civil society in all earnestness, and thereby acknowledge that it is in the interest of the nation to make the regulatory system better, efficient and people-centric. It is important to remember what the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission of Japan concluded: “The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents.”

The winter session of Parliament had in its agenda to consider the NSRA Bill 2015, but it didn’t see legislative light. The Bill going into hibernation again is a missed opportunity when the expansion of nuclear power is going ahead. …..

Mohan is an associate professor at TERI University; Kini is a partner at MV Kini & Co, Mumbai. The writers are members of the Nuclear Law Association, India.

January 4, 2016 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

The message of Mahatma Ghandi is relevant today

world-in-handsEcological Meltdown And Nuclear Conflict: The Relevance Of Gandhi In The Modern World By Colin Todhunter Global Research, January 03, 2016    ………. Gandhi was ahead of his time. Although he might not have used today’s terms, ideas pertaining to environmentalism, agroecology, sustainable living, fair trade, local self-sufficiency, food sovereignty and so on were all present in his writings. He was committed to inflicting minimal damage on the environment and was concerned that humans should use only those resources they require and not amass wealth beyond their requirements. People have the right to attain certain comforts but a perceived right to unbridled luxuries would result in damaging the environment and impinge on the species that we share the planet with. His own lifestyle was a highly sustainable one, focusing on simplicity, austerity and need rather than want…………. government after government aggravates the problems by creating an impression that the villagers are a backward, inefficient and unproductive lot who can survive only on relief. With proper investment and appropriate policies, India’s rural economy could once again thrive.

T N Khoshoo argued that Gandhi’s advocacy of an ‘non-interventionist lifestyle’ provides the answer to the present day problems. The phrase ‘health of the environment’ is not just a literary coinage, he argues. It makes real biological sense because, as Gandhi argued, our planet is like a living organism. Without the innumerable and varied forms of life that the earth inhabits, without respecting the species we share this place with, our world will become lifeless.

Alternatively, before that happens, humans will become extinct and the planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas. But, in the meantime, how much damage will have done by then and how much suffering will we have caused by a system that thrives on turning people into slaves to their desires and allowing imperialism to reign free?

Gandhi was “an apostle of applied human ecology,” according to T N Khoshoo. He offered a vision for a world without meaningless consumption which depleted its finite resources and destroyed habitats and the environment. Given the problems facing humanity, his ideas should serve as an inspiration to us all, whether we live in India or elsewhere.

Unfortunately, his message seems to have been lost on many of today’s leaders who have capitulated to an out-of-control ‘capitalism’ that is driving the world towards resource-driven conflicts with the ultimate spectre of nuclear war hanging over humanity’s head.

January 4, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, India, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

India’s race for nuclear weapons, promoted by US government policies

Indian Nuclear Program – A global migraine , The Nation  Muhammad   Umar December 30, 2015 American experts have been incessantly warning their government of the dire consequences of exempting India from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) requirements. On December 8, while testifying in front of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, Henry D. Sokolski said, “The US persuaded the NSG to allow India to import uranium for its civilian nuclear program but, as predicted, this has only allowed India to dedicate more of its meager domestic uranium production to military purposes. India, in short, with the deal now can make more bombs.”

A week after the testimony, Adrian Levy, a world renowned investigative journalist wrote an alarming piece, warning that India is secretly constructing an entire city dedicated to building an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Levy’s in-depth look at how India has been surreptitiously uprooting farmers since 2012 in the South of the country to erect a clandestine nuclear city is a testament of the very real global threat a nuclear armed India poses, and it also proves that the American actions have in fact helped India proliferate on a very massive scale……..
In 1974 India conducted its first nuclear test. They were only able to develop their first bomb by violating the terms of a multilateral peaceful uses agreement that they had with Canada and the United States.

Since last December, Putin, Obama, and Xi Jinping have all visited India, and with each one Modi has made promises that contradict the commitments he has made to the others. Modi thinks he can pull the wool over everyone’s eyes – yes, he does, but cannot fool them any longer. He used President Xi Jinping’s visit to leverage Russia and the visit by Vladimir Putin to force Barack Obama into his arms. This is the real face of the so-called incredible India.

The construction of this new top-secret nuclear city, as detailed in Levy’s report is clear evidence that America’s attempt to offer India a civil nuclear incentive has failed to reign in their nuclear weapons program, instead it has helped the weapons program grow to unthinkable new heights. The city when completed in 2017 would be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities”, the report said.

Regional stability is essential to avoid war, the NSG exemption secured by the America for India has freed up un-safeguarded Indian uranium for weapons use, and as revealed by Levy for an entire city dedicated to building nuclear bombs. After all this, America still choses to continue with backing India’s bid for full membership to the NSG, ironically the very organization created to prevent future proliferation after India exploded their first bomb.

The Americans must know that if India is allowed to build such a huge facility for the sole purpose of enriching uranium, it will create instability in the region. It will further aggravate Pakistan’s security dilemma, and at the same time enrage the Chinese.

According to the report, the construction began three years ago, and it is hard to imagine that strategic thinkers in the United States did not raise any red flags………

December 31, 2015 Posted by | India, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

ENE News summarises the most shocking points in India’s scandalous nuclear history

flag-india“Nuclear Nightmare”: Children with mutations “on almost every street” — Deformed heads, lopsided bodies, “toad skin”, eyelids turned inside out — School built using radioactive waste “part of community outreach project” — Nuclear Expert: “Exceptionally worrying, no one should’ve been living anywhere near” (VIDEO) from report on Huffington Post, Dec 14, 2015 (emphasis added):

  • How India’s Nuclear Industry Created A River Of Death
  • Researchers found that the Subarnarekha river and areas around Jadugoda, India, werepoisoned from the emissions of a nearby secret nuclear factory
  • [T]he Center for Public Integrity has reviewed hundreds of pages of personal testimony and clinical reports in the case that present a disturbing scenario…
  • Doctors and health workers, as well as international radiation experts, say that nuclear chiefs have repeatedly suppressed or rebuffed their warnings… The case files include epidemiological and medical surveys warning of a high incidence of infertility, birth defects and congenital illnesses
  • [Dipak Ghosh, a respected Indian physicist and dean of the Faculty of Science at Jadavpur University, with his] team collected samples from the river and from adjacent wells, seven years ago, he was alarmed by the results… “It was potentially catastrophic,” Ghosh said in a recent interview. Millions of people along the waterway were potentially exposed…
  • Many said their children were born with partially formed skulls, blood disorders,missing eyes or toesfused fingers or brittle limbs
  • Analyzing a representative sample of people between 4 and 60 years old living within a mile and a half of the third tailing dam, the researchers hired by [Uranium Corporation of India Limited] concluded that the residents were “affected by radiation.”… symptoms included swollen joints, spleens and livers, and coughing up blood. The UCIL report also described “osteoporosis, defective limbs, and habitual abortion,” as well as many complaints of “missed menstrual cycle” and a cluster of cancer cases…
  • [A]n American diplomat [warned that] “lax safety measures … are exposing local tribal communities to radiation contamination.” In a confidential cable to Washington, Henry V. Jardine, a career foreign service officer and former Army captain, expressed blunt dismay… In a new cable on June 6, 2008… Jardine told Washington that still another epidemiological study had concluded “indigenous groups … living close to the mines reportedly suffer high-rates of cancer, physical deformities, blindness, brain damage and other ailments.” UCIL “refuses to acknowledge these issues,” he noted. Jardine wrapped up: “Post contacts, citing independent research, say that it is difficult to point out any reason other than radiation…”
  • Surendra Gadekar, a nuclear physicist, began taking soil, water and air samples… Their study was published in 2004… It found radiation levels inside the villages around the tailing ponds were almost 60 times the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission “safe level.”… [They] also documented the existence in neighboring populations of children withmalformed torsos and deformed heads and the wrong number of fingers, as well as a cluster of cases where infants’ bodies grew at different rates, giving them alopsided gait. Some had hyperkeratosis, a condition known as “toad skin”…
  • In late 2000, [Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear engineer who teaches at the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University] took soil and water samples… “These figures wereexceptionally worrying,” Koide said. “No one should have been living anywhere near“… Koide confirmed that uranium rock and finely ground mine tailings had been used as ballast for road leveling and house building and to construct a local school and clinic… [A] senior UCIL official… confirmed these construction projects using irradiated materials had gone ahead as “part of a community outreach project.”

Toronto Star, Sep 15, 2014: India’s nuclear nightmare: The village of birth defects… Neither Alowati nor Duniya can walk, nor can they hold anything; their limbs dangle lifelessly… Their knees and elbows are rubbed raw from crawling… They need help to bathe and use the toilet. Children with birth deformities like Alowati and Duniya live on almost every street in Jadugora… When people began to notice that young women were having miscarriages, witches and spirits were blamed… But people had lesions, children were born with deformities, hair loss was common. Cows couldn’t give birth, hens laid fewer eggs, fish had skin diseases… [L]ocal media reports… included shocking pictures of children who were sick or deformed… A 2007 report by the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, a non-profit, found a far greater incidence of congenital deformity, sterility and cancer… Mohammad is 13 but looks 7. Like Alowati and Duniya, he drags himself forward with his elbows… A few huts away [a child’s] eyelids are turned inside out

Watch video from AOL here

December 24, 2015 Posted by | health, India, Reference | Leave a comment

Vulnerability of India’s nuclear materials to theft

highly-recommendedflag-indiaIndia’s nuclear explosive materials are vulnerable to theft, U.S. officials and experts say. But Washington has chosen not to press for tougher security while its trade with India is booming, Center For Public Integrity,  By Adrian LevyR. Jeffrey Smith 17 Dec 15  “……..  officials here and outside India depict as serious shortcomings in the country’s nuclear guard force, tasked with defending one of the world’s largest stockpiles of fissile material and nuclear explosives.

An estimated 90 to 110 Indian nuclear bombs are stored in six or so government-run sites patrolled by the same security force, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent think tank, and Indian officials. Within the next two decades, as many as 57 reactors could also be operating under the force’s protection, as well as four plants where spent nuclear fuel is dissolved in chemicals to separate out plutonium to make new fuel or be used in nuclear bombs.

The sites are spread out over vast distances: from the stony foothills of the Himalayas in the north down to the red earth of the tropical south. Shuttling hundreds of miles in between will be occasional convoys of lightly-protected trucks laden with explosive and fissile materials — including plutonium and enriched uranium — that could be used in civilian and military reactors or to spark a nuclear blast.

The Kalpakkam shooting as a result alarmed Indian and Western officials who question whether this country — which is surrounded by unstable neighbors and has a history of civil tumult — has taken adequate precautions to safeguard its sensitive facilities and keep the building blocks of a devastating nuclear bomb from being stolen by insiders with grievances, ill motives, or in the worst case, connections to terrorists.

Although experts say they regard the issue as urgent, Washington is not pressing India for quick reforms. The Obama administration is instead trying to avoid any dispute that might interrupt a planned expansion of U.S. military sales to Delhi, several senior U.S. officials said in interviews.

The experts’ concerns are based in part on a series of documented nuclear security lapses in the past two decades, in addition to the shooting:

  • Several kilograms of what authorities described as semi-processed uranium were stolen by a criminal gang, allegedly with Pakistani links, from a state mine in Meghalya, in northeastern India, in 1994. Four years later, a federal politician was arrested near the West Bengal border with 100 kilograms of uranium from India’s Jadugoda mining complex that he was allegedly attempting to sell to Pakistani sympathizers associated with the same gang. A police dossier seen by the Center states that ten more people connected with smuggling were arrested two years after this, in operations that recovered 57 pounds of stolen uranium.
  • In 2008, another criminal gang was caught attempting to smuggle low-grade uranium, capable of being used in a primitive radiation-dispersal device, from one of India’s state-owned mines across the border to Nepal. The same year another group was caught moving an illicit stock of uranium over the border to Bangladesh, the gang having been assisted by the son of an employee at India’s Atomic Minerals Division, which supervises uranium mining and processing.
  • In 2009, a nuclear reactor employee in southwest India deliberately poisoned dozens of his colleagues with a radioactive isotope, taking advantage of numerous gaps in plant security, according to an internal government report seen by the Center.
  • And in 2013, leftist guerillas in northeast India illegally obtained uranium ore from a government-run milling complex in northeast India and strapped it to high explosives to make a crude bomb before being caught by police, according to an inspector involved in the case.  Continue reading

December 24, 2015 Posted by | incidents, India, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

India has rebuffed offers of help to make its nuclear industry safer

India’s nuclear explosive materials are vulnerable to theft, U.S. officials and experts say. But Washington has chosen not to press for tougher security while its trade with India is booming, Center For Public Integrity,   By Adrian LevyR. Jeffrey Smith 17 Dec 15 

“……..The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit group in Washington, reported last year for example that India’s nuclear security practices ranked 23rd among 25 countries that possess at least a bomb’s-worth of fissile materials. Only Iran and North Korea fared worse in the analysis, which noted that India’s stockpiles are growing and said the country’s nuclear regulator lacked independence from political interference and adequate authority.

It said the risks stemmed in part from India’s culture of widespread corruption — which helped force the nation’s ruling Congress party from power in May 2014 — as well as its general political instability. “Weaknesses are particularly apparent in the areas of transport security, material control, and accounting, and measures to protect against the insider threat, such as personnel vetting and mandatory reporting of suspicious behavior,” the group’s report stated.

But India has rebuffed repeated offers of U.S. help. Gary Samore, President Obama’s coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction from 2009 to 2013, said that at preparatory meetings for international summits on nuclear security in 2010 and 2012, “we kept offering to create a joint security project [with India] consisting of assistance of any and every kind. And every time they would say, to my face, that this was a wonderful idea and they should grasp the opportunity. And then, when they returned to India, we would never hear about it again.”

India also refused to collaborate with the Nuclear Threat Initiative project by sharing or confirming information about its practices, unlike 17 of the other 24 countries in the study. They responded ferociously to its conclusions, according to a researcher connected to the project, who was not sanctioned to talk about it. Officials at the Indian Atomic Energy Commission verbally attacked Ted Turner and Sam Nunn, the NTI’s founders, in conversations with Indian journalists, the researcher said……

Despite the celebration of close U.S.-Indian ties during President Obama’s visit to Delhi in January, “there is still no deep technical relationship” between the two countries on nuclear security issues, a White House official conceded in a recent interview, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We only hope that this will slowly change.”

At the moment, India is seeking three favors from Washington: It wants U.S. help to gain membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, an international forum meant to limit the spread of nuclear-tipped missiles, which would give it access to certain otherwise restricted foreign space-launch technologies. And it wants to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, composed of nations that agree to respect nonproliferation rules when they trade in nuclear-related technologies. Both ambitions reflect India’s desire to be accorded the status of a major world power, U.S. experts say.

It also wants to acquire U.S. defense technologies by co-producing weapons systems in India with key Pentagon contractors – an issue discussed between Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Indian defense minister Manohar Parrikar during the minister’s weeklong visit to Washington beginning on Dec. 4.

But the Obama administration decided not to use these issues as leverage to force better security measures for nuclear explosives, the senior U.S. official said, because of its judgment that doing so would only prompt India to walk away.

A former senior U.S. nonproliferation official said this was a mistake. Washington, he said on condition of not being named, “has allowed itself to be put into the position of not wanting to displease India for fear of putting things off-track” in its new, warming relationship, and it has wrongly “allowed the Indians to wall off things they are not interested in talking about” while its ties to the United States grow.

An official in Britain’s Foreign Office, who also spoke on condition he not be named, expressed a more jaundiced view of this reluctance to press Delhi harder.

“Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of investment in the capacious Indian market,” the British official said, describing the current American mindset. “India has effectively bought itself breathing space, over a lot of concerning issues, especially nuclear security, by opening itself up for the first time to significant trades with the U.S. and Europe.” The financial gains, he said, are “eye-watering.”

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, trade with India grew from $19 billion in 2000 to more than $100 billion in 2014. U.S. exports exceeded $38 billion — including substantial new U.S. arms shipments — supporting 181,000 U.S. jobs. Indian direct investment in the United States totaled $7.8 billion while U.S. investments reached $28 billion.

Washington, the British official explained, does not wish to provoke a spat over nuclear security simply because doing so could threaten this lucrative trade, which benefits many U.S. companies.

This is part four of a four-part series about india’s civil and military nuclear program, co-published with the Huffington Post worldwide and Foreign Policy magazine in Washington, D.C. The other articles can be found here:

R. Jeffrey Smith reported from Washington, D.C., and California. Adrian Levy is is an investigative reporter and filmmaker whose work has appeared in the Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and other publications. His most recent books are: The Meadow, about a 1995 terrorist kidnapping of Westerners in Kashmir, and The Siege: The Attack on the Taj, about the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. He reported from India and the United Kingdom.

December 24, 2015 Posted by | India, safety | Leave a comment

India’s PM Narendra Modi off to Russia to negotiate nuclear reactor purchases

Russian-Bearflag-indiaIndia, Russia eye nuclear, helicopter deals prior to Modi visit, Hindustan Times,  Reuters, New Delhi Dec 18, 2015   Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to promote deals for Russian nuclear reactors and military helicopters worth billions of dollars on a trip to Moscow next week, attracted by promises to transfer technology that Western nations have been slow to make…….

Modi, who heads for Moscow on December 23, will also offer Russia a site in Andhra Pradesh to build six nuclear reactors of 1,200 megawatts (MW) each, the same sources added.

That is in addition to the six Russia is constructing in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press.

New Delhi has turned to Russia as US firm General Electric and Westinghouse, a US-based unit of Japan’s Toshiba, are still weighing an entry into India’s nuclear energy sector because of a law that makes reactor suppliers liable in case of an accident………

Russian President Vladimir Putin is banking on India’s drive to manufacture at home to regain market share…….

December 19, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment


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