Nalco’s foray into nuclear energy hits legal roadblock Proposed Rs 12,000-cr nuclear energy plant in a JV with Nuclear Power Corporation in limbo Business Standard, India, Dilip Satapathy | Bhubaneswar October 9, 2015 National Aluminium Company (Nalco)’s plan to foray intonuclear energy generation has hit a legal roadblock.
Though the aluminium major proposed to set up a Rs 12,000 crore nuclear energy plant in joint venture withNuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), it is unable to go ahead with the project with the present act restricting the sector to only a couple of its own fully owned subsidiaries under the Atomic Energy Department…….
Though NPCIL is keen to involve other public sector firms like Nalco, IOCL and NTPC, with whom it has signed MoUs, for setting up of nuclear power plants in a bid to expand its nuclear power footprint in the country, the present act does not allow this.
The Atomic Energy Act, framed in 1962, also prohibits private control of nuclear power generation though it allows them minority investment……….Apart from the fuel supply issue and protests over establishment of nuclear power plants, changes in the act to allow JVs formed by NPCIL with other PSUs to make them workable is another hurdle, the India government has to take care if the country wants to achieve 20 GWe nuclear energy capacity by 2020, sources said.
Besides nuclear energy, the aluminium major has identified renewable energy as its next focused area.
“We have set up wind mills in Andhra Pradesh (50.4 Mw) and Jaisalmer (47.6 Mw) in Rajasthan. We plan to set up solar plants in Rajasthan and Maharashtra (50 Mw each) and Madhya Pradesh (20 Mw). We are also in the processing of installing a 14 Mw wind power mill at Damanjodi,” Chand said. http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/nalcos-foray-into-nuclear-energy-hits-legal-roadblock-115100900777_1.html
The ink had yet to dry on two separate agreements signed by France’s Areva with Larsen & Toubro and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited for the French-designed 1650 MWe EPR reactor in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, when the French nuclear giant went into meltdown.
The agreements were signed with great fanfare during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France on 10th April 2015 despite the fact that question marks on Areva’s future as a viable nuclear player had been piling up thick and fast.
In May, mere weeks after Modi’s visit, Areva announced colossal losses amounting to 4.8 billion euros (well above its capital base) and in June the French government, which owns 87% of the company, announced that Areva would be broken up, with its nuclear power arm, Areva NP, (including engineering, construction and design) being sold to another French energy giant, EDF. The French state has an 84.5% stake in EDF.
Why then did India persist in signing MoUs with a sinking ship? Surely Indian decision-makers were not unaware of Areva’s problems? And why is India insisting on buying nuclear technology that may be quietly buried in the near future, technology that has trebled in cost while providing no proof of performance, cost or economics of operation so far? What will be the fate of the agreements signed between Areva and L&T and Areva and NPCIL? Will they be automatically transferred to EDF and if so at what price?
Could India not have waited for clarity over Areva’s future instead of rushing into signing agreements with a company on the verge of dismemberment? Or is it that the MoUs were hurriedly pushed through so that Modi would have a big ticket announcement to make during his first European tour?……..
The hurry to enter into these agreements is baffling since it is unclear what the long-term future of the expensive flagship EPR will be once EDF takes full charge of Areva. Energy experts say the EPR’s design issues and costs dragged down Areva and EDF is unlikely to want a similar fate for itself………. http://www.dianuke.org/why-is-india-bent-on-joining-the-sinking-french-nuclear-ship/
Mayapuri haunted by radiation fears of 2010, Mohit Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi Jul 21, 2015
Fear of a radiation leak is haunting businessmen and residents of Mayapuri, who claim that that authorities have failed to keep a check on the large scale dismantling of machines that go on in the area.
RK Gupta, the general secretary of the Mayapuri-Rewariline industrial welfare association says that while the content of scrap, vehicles and other items brought for dismantling are dubious and remain unverified, open dismantling of machines poses the danger of a repeat of radiation incident that occurred in the area five years ago………http://www.hindustantimes.com/newdelhi/mayapuri-haunted-by-radiation-fears-of-2010/article1-1371431.aspx
Japan eases fuel rules for India nuclear deal, Japan Times KYODO, JUN 19, 2015 Japan has given in to India’s demand that it be allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from Japanese-made reactors, negotiation sources said, marking a major shift in Japan’s stance against proliferation.
India, a nuclear power that conducted its first weapons test in 1974 using reprocessed plutonium, has not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Japan has been seeking measures to guarantee India will not divert extracted plutonium — which could be used to build nuclear weapons — for military use, but no agreement has been reached on the issue, the sources said Thursday…..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/19/national/japan-eases-fuel-rules-for-india-nuclear-deal/#.VYSSFfmqpHw
India’s research reactors not under nuclear insurance pool— By IANS | Jun 18, 2015 http://www.freepressjournal.in/indias-research-reactors-not-under-nuclear-insurance-pool/ Chennai: India’s research reactors will not be covered under the newly set-up nuclear insurance pool as they are owned by the union government, a top official of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has said.
“The Rs.1,500 crore ($234 million) India Nuclear Insurance Pool is mainly for power plants operated by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). The reactors operated by research institutions do not come under the insurance pool,” BARC director Sekhar Basu told IANS. Basu is also a member of the Atomic Energy Commission and a director in NPCIL.
“The research reactors are very small. Further the research institutions are owned by the central government. And governments do not generally take out an insurance policy on its properties,” Basu added.
BARC’s two operational test reactors are the 100 MW and a very low-power Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR).
Basu said what is applicable to BARC applies equally to the research reactors operated by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at Kalpakkam, around 80 km from here.
The IGCAR operates two small research reactors – fast breeder test reactor (FBTR) and Kamini.
According to Basu, the upcoming 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) expected to go on stream this year would come under the insurance cover once it starts the nuclear fission process.
The government-owned Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) is setting up the country’s first indigenously designed 500 MW PFBR at Kalpakkam.
A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes. The PFBR will be fuelled by a blend of plutonium and uranium oxide, called MOX fuel.
The central government recently announced the setting up of the Rs.1,500-crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool to be managed by national reinsurer GIC Re.
The GIC Re, four government-owned general insurers and also some private general insurers have provided the capacity to insure the risks to the tune of around Rs.1,000 crore and the balance Rs.500 crore capacity has been obtained from the British Nuclear Insurance Pool.
The losses or profits in the pool would be shared by the insurers in the ratio of their agreed risk capacity.
Foreign nuclear plant suppliers were reluctant to sell their plants to India citing the provisions of Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLND) 2010 that provides the right of recourse to NPCIL against the vendors under certain circumstances for compensation in case of an accident.
The insurance pool was formed as a risk transfer mode for the suppliers and also NPCIL.
All the 21 operating nuclear power plants in India owned and operated by NPCIL are expected to come under public liability insurance cover from next month onwards, a senior official of New India Assurance Company Ltd told IANS, preferring anonymity.
The insurance cover would also extend to the 1,000 MW nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu built with Russian equipment.
“We are planning to issue a single policy covering all the 21 nuclear power units of NPCIL including the one in Kudankulam. The premium will be paid by NPCIL and the policy will be issued in its name,” he said.
According to him, the final premium has not been arrived at but it will be between Rs.100 crore and Rs.150 crore.
He said the proposed policy would cover the liability towards public as a consequence of any nuclear accident in the plants covered under the policy and also the right of recourse of NPCIL against the equipment suppliers.
India launches Rs 1,500 crore insurance pool for nuclear liability, 14 June 2015 New Delhi | Agency: dna The government has finally launched an insurance pool of Rs. 1,500 crore, a mandatory requirement under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act by filling in the gap of Rs 500 crore through the British Nuclear Insurance Pool.
Several held up projects such as the long-pending Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna (GHAVP) are now expected to move forward after setting up of the insurance pool.
Clauses in the CLND 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 the formation of the Indian nuclear insurance pool……..
India’s stated requirement that no inspector will be allowed to inspect our plants will be fully met, said union minister of state (Independent Charge) Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh.
He assured that the government is not contemplating any alterations in the Nuclear Liability Act (passed in 2010 during UPA-II tenure) in any manner………..http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-india-launches-rs-1500-crore-insurance-pool-for-nuclear-liability-2095312
India barred activist from entry: Greenpeace , Arab News 9 June 15 NEW DELHI: Greenpeace said Monday an Australian staff member had been barred from entering India despite holding a valid visa, in what it said was the latest crackdown against the group.
Aaron Gray-Block was on his way to meetings in India when immigration officials stopped him at Bangalore airport on Saturday night and put him on a flight to Kuala Lumpur without explanation, the campaign group said.
His passport was seized and only returned to him once he had landed in the Malaysian capital, the environmental group said in a statement.
“Our colleague has a valid business visa, and yet he was prevented from entering India with no reason given,” Divya Raghunandan, program director of Greenpeace India, said.
“We are forced to wonder if all international staff of Greenpeace will now be prevented from entering the country?“
Local media reports cited unnamed home ministry sources saying Gray-Block was denied entry because his name figured in an official ‘black list’.
But the activist said he had “not received any communication” from the government of being placed on such a list, demanding “an explanation to this.”
“I arrived at Bangalore Airport with a valid business visa issued by the Indian embassy in Australia… Any suggestion of wrongdoing is a farce and a smear,” Gray-Block said in a statement late Monday.
“There is no reason for me to be included in any blacklist,” he added……
A court last month ordered authorities to unfreeze some of Greenpeace’s accounts, handing the group a lifeline after it faced closure of its local operations.
Greenpeace has accused the government of waging a “malicious campaign” against it. Authorities prevented one of its campaigners in January from leaving Delhi after she was placed on a suspicious persons list. According to Indian media, a secret report by the main intelligence agency recently warned that delays to key development projects being sought by Greenpeace and other activist groups could knock up to three percentage points off India’s annual growth rate.
Greenpeace has been at loggerheads with the government over claims of environmental damage caused by India’s heavy reliance on coal and the impact of deforestation and nuclear projects. http://www.arabnews.com/news/758971
Little progress on nuclear deal after ‘breakthrough’ http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/little-progress-on-nuclear-deal-between-india-and-us-after-breakthrough/article7261405.ece NARAYAN LAKSHMAN 29 May 15 More than four months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama announced a “breakthrough understanding” to resolve a long-standing impasse in the bilateral civil nuclear energy agreement, forward movement has apparently ground to a standstill and neither the government nor the private sector here held out hope for a speedy resolution.
Responding to queries from The Hindu this week a State Department spokesperson said that there was “nothing new to announce on the civil nuclear deal at this time.”
Even as early as February, a top State Department official, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, indicated that there may not be much more that the two governments could do to smooth the path for U.S. corporations to supply India with nuclear reactors. Ms. Biswal said that while Washington was “still in the process of taking what [India’s latest] top-line commitments were and trading paper to be able to find the more detailed understandings,” for the U.S. resolution of this “lingering challenge” hinged on the convergence between India’s 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLND) and the 1963 CSC.
She emphasised that with the “breakthrough understanding” reached in January, “now it will be up to the companies to assess for themselves the business case scenarios and make their own decisions based on the commercial aspects – how to move forward.”
“Nothing happening” Continue reading
Last week India’s Economic Times reported that the Indian conglomerate Reliance Infrastructure—which owns stakes in numerous Indian defense companies—is seeking Russian assistance for programs to locally produce nuclear submarines and other stealth warships. According to the report, top Reliance executives were in Moscow last week to meet with Russian defense officials about finding a partner for a joint venture between a Russian defense company and Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering, India’s largest defense shipyard, which Reliance has an 18 percent stake in. Specifically, Reliance is looking for a Russian partner with the “requisite technology expertise for manufacturing warships in India.”
As the Economic Times points out, the meetings come on the heels of India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approving a plan for an Indian company to locally manufacture six nuclear submarines and seven stealth warships. The initial investment outlay for the project was set at Rs 1 trillion ($15.67 billion.)
Although the Russian government refused to specifically confirm the report, it did sound receptive to such a possibility…….http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-eyes-massive-nuclear-submarine-deal-india-12997
Australian solar company Pollinate Energy brings light to slums of India ABC Foreign Correspondent By South Asia correspondent Stephanie March 26 May 15 With indoor air pollution from kerosene lamps and stoves the second largest cause of death in India, one company, founded by Australians, has come up with a solution to the problem.
Every night in the sprawling shanty towns of the country of 1.2 billion people, the air fills with dense, black smoke.
“We used to get oil from the market and pour it into the lamp and light it; the house used to get full of soot and dirt,” said Abdul, a slum-dweller in Bangalore who lives in a hut made of wooden board and tarpaulin.
That was until Abdul bought a portable solar light from a company called Pollinate Energy, founded by five young Australians.
“After we got this solar lamp a lot of things improved,” Abdul said. “Now we don’t worry that there will be a fire.”
There are 400 million people in India who do not have access to electricity. Many of them live in the thousands of slums found in the country’s cities.
“They’re people who’ve come from rural places to the city to find work, usually in construction sites or as rag pickers, and to make a life for themselves,” Pollinate Energy co-founder Kat Kimmorley said.
“They are sort of like the modern day pharaoh slaves building this next new empire that we all … take for granted that is just coming up before our eyes and yet [is] completely ignored and sort of invisible to the state here.”
Pollinate Energy employs locals to go tent to tent to sell the solar lights.
The lights cost about $30 each — a lot of money for people who earn a few dollars a day. The company allows customers to pay in instalments.
“For most of the people we work with in these urban slums, when we provide a solar light, every time I sell it I think this is the same type of investment as for a plasma screen TV in Australia,” Ms Kimmorley said.
More mobile phones than toilets in India
The lights are popular — the company has sold more than 7,000, and is expanding to two more Indian cities. And that is partly because they double as a phone charger.
“We discovered that the customers would pay double what they would pay for a solar light for a solar-powered phone charger,” Ms Kimmorley said.
“So it is just testament to the fact that it is not just what we think would improve peoples’ lives but also what keeping up with the Joneses means in an urban slum. It’s having a mobile phone and being able to charge that mobile phone,” she said.
The uptake of mobile phones in India has been huge — there are more mobile phones than there are toilets.
The team at Pollinate believes solar lights can follow the same path………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/solar-energy-brings-light-to-slums-of-india/6495912
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
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