The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

For the nuclear industry & India’s government, a US citizen’s life is 1030.5 times more valuable than an Indian’s

Nuclear Liability in India Diogenes Syndrome,   by   14 Dec 14  Irrespective of the circumstances, directly or indirectly in their control, the suppliers and operators of nuclear plants could not shun the responsibilities for any destruction caused to human life, property or environment in the course of their operation in India.
Risk mitigating is always preferred by any intelligent investors; however, it comes with a premium: but here the scenario is altogether different. The risk-reward ratio seems acutely tilted. Almost all of the US nuclear operator and suppliers group are stanch advocates of this bill; while other NSG [Nuclear Suppliers Group] members (mainly Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, USSR, UK) are watching the development, with crossed figures, expecting a favorable outcome.

The history of nuclear mis-happenings can be traced back since the invention of nuclear technology. With the growing concern for environment and better life conditions, the public pressure has compelled the companies and government of the advance countries to spend huge amount of money, time and resources in inventing safer and environment friendly technologies to replace the obsolete one.
In order to get rid of the obsolete technologies with outdated equipment and apparatus, the developed countries are notorious to export it to the poor nations, just like the ‘stock clearance sale.’ The receiver countries mainly comprise of nations where human development index is low (as India). Due to apathy, ignorance, lack of awareness and absence of public participation in policy making these deals are hardly come into limelight, until media or any NGO cry foul. The outdated technology is one of the biggest causes of nuclear accidents.

The main reason for such export, as quoted by the rich nations, is that developing countries could not afford the price of the latest know-how. Whereas, the developed countries artificially keep the price of the specific technology so high, that it becomes commercially nonviable in the third world nations.

All inventions or innovations cost lot of time and money and involve great risk of failure, so the inventor should have a right to decide the price for his innovative end product as an incentive to encourage entrepreneurship. I deeply abide to this notion. My point is: You want to maximize the profits and assets, but want a cap on the liabilities? Can you practice such economics in advance countries like US or in Europe?

In US, with the population density of 32.08 person per square km., the liability is Rs. 46,000 crore ($10 billion); in India, with population density of 358.485 person per square km., NSG wants a cap of just Rs. 500 crore, (the rest is borne by Indian Government, through taxpayers’ money.) By this calculation the cost of India life or one square kilometer of land is Rs. 1.4; however, the cost of American’s life or one square kilometer of US land is Rs.1437.5. For Indian government, a US citizen is 1030.5 times more valuable than the life of an Indian citizen.

December 15, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, India | Leave a comment

Disturbing information about Rosatom’s nuclear reactors – a warning to Finland

Russian-Bearflag-FinlandWriter warns MPs about nuclear contractor Rosatom, YLE UUTISET, 5 DEc 14,   Finnish author Risto Isomäki issued a warning letter about the Russian nuclear contractor Rosatom to MPs as they prepared to vote on granting a new permit for a nuclear power project in the country’s northwest. The missive paints a disturbing picture about a nuclear plant constructed by Rosatom in India. Environmentalist and science fiction writer Risto Isomäki’s letter to MPs centres on Rosatom’s turnkey nuclear power plant project in India and has been reproduced in the Social Democratic Party organ, Demari, as well as in social media.

According to Isomäki the first reactor of a nuclear power facility constructed by Rosatom in Kudankulam in India has suffered 14 spontaneous power outages in the year since it has been completed. It has also been taken offline five times for repair and maintenance work in the same one-year period, he writes. The author claimed that according to his information the reactor has now been shut down because it has not passed final commissioning tests.

One of the recipients of the letter was National Coalition Party MP, Harri Jaskari, who also sits on the Parliament’s Finance Committee. Jaskari said that the claims made by Isomäki about the Indian facility were not previously known to committee members……..

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Finland, India, safety | Leave a comment

China’s very rapid renewable energy growth- IRENA reports

logo-IRENAflag-ChinaIRENA Says China Can Nearly Quadruple Renewable Energy By 2030 Clean Technica,  November 25th, 2014 by  A new report published Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has shown that China can increase its use of renewable energy from 13% to 26% by 2030, representing a nearly fourfold increase if the economic powerhouse is able to pull it off.

“As the largest energy consumer in the world, China must play a pivotal role in the global transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, at a launch event in Beijing. “China’s energy use is expected to increase 60 per cent by 2030. How China meets that need will determine whether or not the world can curb climate change.”

The report, Renewable Energy Prospects: China, was compiled by IRENA in association with the China National Renewable Energy Centre, and is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap,REmap 2030, which aims to provide a plan to double the global share of the renewable energy mix by 2030.

Following the recent announcement made between China and the US, this report (and others like it) acquire even more significance, as China looks to be actively seeking ways to increase its renewable energy share……..

Economic Growth and Renewable Energy

Fears that economic growth must be stifled in favour of cleaner, more renewable sources of energy have recently been laid to rest, thanks partially to another report published recently that focused on China. The study, China and the New Climate Economy, showed that “China can achieve economic development, energy security and reduce pollution at the same time.”…….

November 26, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

India being dudded by Westinghouse, GE and Areva on nuclear power program?

Globally, nuclear power is set to face increasing challenges due to its inability to compete with other energy sources in pricing. Another factor is how to manage the rising volumes of spent nuclear fuel in the absence of permanent disposal facilities.  …….  nuclear power is in no position to lead the world out of the fossil fuel age.

flag-indiaFalse promise of nuclear power, THE HINDU, BRAHMA CHELLANEY 19
Nov 14 

“…….Westinghouse, GE and Areva also wish to shift the primary liability for any accident to the Indian taxpayer so that they have no downside risk but only profits to reap. If a Fukushima-type catastrophe were to strike India, it would seriously damage the Indian economy. A recent Osaka City University study has put Japan’s Fukushima-disaster bill at a whopping $105 billion.

To Dr. Singh’s discomfiture, three factors put a break on his reactor-import plans — the exorbitant price of French- and U.S.-origin reactors, the accident-liability issue, and grass-roots opposition to the planned multi-reactor complexes. Continue reading

November 19, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, India, politics international | Leave a comment

Why Australia should be selling renewable technologies to India, not dirty coal and uranium

Australia, India’s dirty energy friend Instead of being India’s dirty fuel friend, Australia can build a sustainable energy relationship with India by helping boost India’s growing renewables industry. By  Ruchira Talukdar 10 NOV 2014  As heads of state prepare to arrive in Brisbane next week for the G20 summit where climate change will be conspicuous by its serious absence on the agenda, the Australian government is finalising paperwork to start exporting uranium – a highly risky fuel – and approving giant mines like Carmichael in central Queensland to ship coal – a climate change culprit – to India.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also preparing for a four day Australia tour alongside attending G20, including addressing a joint sitting of federal Parliament. It will be the first official visit by an Indian head of state in nearly three decades, marking the beginning of a strong phase in Australia-India relations. This new cooperation might sound like good news to the Indian diaspora in Australia and make regional cooperation experts enthusiastic, but its basis in extracting and exporting dirty and dangerous forms of energy to India needs to be questioned.India is a densely populated country with many living in poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of government planning to deal with complex weather systems. This makes it ill-prepared to deal with the scale of impacts from unchecked climate change on humans and ecosystems as highlighted in the latest IPCC report – decreased river flows, increased food insecurity from fall in food production, increased tropical diseases, sea level rise and mass human displacement. Neither are its 22 running nuclear power plants managed to avoid future disasters of the scale of Fukushima or Chernobyl, as a scathing 2013 report by the Indian national auditor general on the lack of nuclear safety in India showed. Continue reading

November 12, 2014 Posted by | environment, India | Leave a comment

India to invest $100 billion in renewable energy

flag-indiaIndia Eyes $100 Billion Investment In Renewable Energy Clean Technica, November 9th, 2014 by  The new Indian government is taking serious initiatives to boost the power sector, which is in dire need of financial and structural reforms. A large number of these reforms will be implemented in the renewable energy sector.

India’s minister for coal, power, and renewable energy last week announced that his government would push for an unprecedented $100 billion investment in the renewable energy sector over the next few years. With this plan, he also announced seemingly impossible solar energy capacity addition targets for the next five years………

November 10, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | 1 Comment

Developments towards India’s first offshore wind project

MOU signed for the first ever Indian offshore wind project, Renewable Energy Magazine Robin WhitlockThursday, 06 November 2014 A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed to establish a Joint Venture Company for India’s first demonstration offshore wind power project along the Gujarat coast…….Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s message in the US was loud and clear that renewable energy is the way to go, it dovetails world’s concerns about climate change and it clearly enhances India’s energy security. Considering the country’s 7600 km long coastal line , Shri Goyal added that the opportunities for scaling up are humongous. The Minister also suggested for building partnership with Defence, Coast guard and Shipping to ensure seamless and time bound approval process…….Onshore wind power development is the fastest growing renewable energy option in India and has now reached a commercial stage with more than 22 GW of installed cap acity supported by funding from private investment. The country has around 7,600 kilometres of coastline, offering a huge potential for offshore wind power development. To this end, the Ministry has now taken the initiative by announcing a Draft National Offshore Wind Energy Policy as well as preparing a Draft Cabinet note on National Offshore Wind Energy Policy which will be circulated for inter-ministerial comments.

November 8, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

Security officer shoots dead three colleagues guarding Kalpakkam nuclear power plant

murder-1flag-india3 CISF personnel shot dead by colleague at Kalpakkam atomic plant in Tamil Nadu , TNN | Oct 8, 2014, CHENNAI: Three Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel guarding the atomic power plant at Kalpakkam near Chennai were killed and two others were injured when one of their colleagues opened fire on them on Wednesday morning.

Police said the incident happened inside the barracks where the security personnel were taking rest early in the morning. The reason for the attack was not known, police said.

The accused, head constable Vijay Pratap Singh, was nabbed and handed over to police……..The CISF head constable used a 9mm carbon rifle to attack his colleagues.

CISF senior officers have rushed to the scene. Further investigations are on.

October 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

Bribery, corruption, and birth defects near India’s uranium mine in Jharkand

secret-dealsflag-indiaEconomy & Ecology: The Inconvenient Truths The Global Calcuttan September 21, 2014 “Capitalism, as it’s conceived and conducted today; capitalism that relies on globalization, unbridled consumerism, deregulation and perpetual economic expansion, is irreconcilable with a livable climate.” – Naomi Klein, Capitalism vs. The Climate

Economy and Ecology: Disclosing the Inconvenient Truths By SB Veda CALCUTTA – This week we feature two articles on the conflict between capitalism and the environment: One describes the mysterious set of illnesses affecting children in the village of Jadugora in Jharkand, India, the sight of India’s first major uranium mine (now closed); and the second is an interview with left-wing author and thinker, Naomi Klein on her new book, which was published, yesterday called Capitalism vs. The Climate……..

Nuclear Poisoning in Jharkand
It is already too late for many of the children of Jadugora, born with birth defects, destined to develop cancer. The story is one of ignorance, lack of adequate regulation, and finally a total breakdown of institutional responsibility within the Indian republic.

In fact, the owner of the Uranium mine situated in the village, The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) is owned by the Government. UCIL, instead of acting in the people’s interests, systematically dumped nuclear waste, ending up in Jadugora’s water supply. This is water used to drink and wash, water that grows the vegetation consumed by the villagers and their livestock. They are literally consuming and bathing in nuclear poison.

It is no wonder that the defeated UPA government under Manmohan Singh, sought to export liabilities from nuclear mismanagement to potential foreign suppliers after India became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). In India, the government seems to have abdicated its responsibility to effectively regulate the civil nuclear industry to safeguard the people.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) owns UCIL and its operations are covered under Atomic Energy Act, which makes accurate information about the mine extremely arduous to obtain. There is no requirement for public participation at any stage of the process of sighting, designing or building nuclear facilities. In an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1999), T.S. Gopi Rethinaraj writes: “The department [of atomic energy] has happily exploited the ignorance of India’s judiciary and political establishment on nuclear issues. In the past, it has even used the Atomic Energy Act to prevent nuclear plant workers from accessing their own health records. While nuclear establishments everywhere have been notorious for suppressing information, nowhere is there an equivalent of India’s Atomic Energy Act in operation. Over the years, in the comfort of secrecy, India’s nuclear establishment has grown into a monolithic and autocratic entity that sets the nuclear agenda of the country and yet remains virtually unaccountable for its actions.” (Source:

Even lawyers at the legal aid society whose responsibility it was to advise the victims of the environmental calamity of their rights and recourse are named as defendants in the public interest suit brought on behalf of the afflicted. Everybody, it seems, was bought and paid for in the oligarchic legacy left by Jawaharlal Nehru that is The Republic of India.

Nehru’s views on the nuclear industry are revealing. The former Gandhian Satyagrahi, wrote to his defence minister shortly after independence that not only did the “future belong to those who produce atomic energy”, but “Defence (was) intimately connected with this.” He was at the ready to fund atomic research – the first Asian government to do so, and his surreptitious plan for a nuclear defence was carried to the next generation and revealed in the misuse of civilian nuclear technology imported from Canada by Indira Gandhi for purposes of defence. This caused all nuclear cooperation between the two nations to cease until recently.

The BJP may have taken the nuclear defence programme out of the darkness, making India a declared nuclear power but it also did little to clean up the civilian nuclear power industry.

Getting back to bribery – though more flagrant in India, is also present in Western democracies as Klein pointed out in her interview: ‘Both by . . . bribing politicians and serving as (an election-campaign) disciplinary force for politicians — you get the money if you do the right thing. But if you don’t do the right thing from the perspective of the oil companies then that same money is used to attack you in television ads and so on.’…

September 26, 2014 Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

India-Australia nuclear trade will destabilise the Asia Pacific region

India-uranium1Australia and uranium: the pusher of the Pacific ByAdam Broinowski 19.Sep.14 “……… The new demand from India will include uranium mined from Ben Lomond near Mt Isa which is likely to be shipped from Townsville Port, and coal mined from the gargantuan Galilee Basin and shipped from Abbott Point, passing through the dredged Great Barrier Reef, or freighted by road to Darwin or Adelaide ports (which hold uranium licenses). The Australia-India uranium agreement supports this concerted and accelerated push.

In cementing a nuclear deal with India, the Abbott government has committed to selling uranium to a nation-state that barely conceals its intentions to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal and that rejects the NPT and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)………..

First, the Australia-India uranium trade agreement is unsafe. If Japan’s nuclear industry and government have proven unable to properly contain the potential for serious nuclear accidents at its domestic nuclear power plants, then India’s nuclear industry, which is much less reliable and possibly even more corrupt, poses even higher risks of mismanagement.

Internally, India is also unstable, as the government fights an embedded insurgency. It maintains a violently repressive approach to imposing nuclear installations and uranium operations (such as Gorakhpur, Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Jagudoga) upon vulnerable communities, and against the wishes of civil protesters, five of whom have been killed since 2010. While guaranteed only intermittent electricity supply, such communities are experiencing higher rates of disease, congenital malformations and early deaths. In Jagudoga, Jharkhand (19,500 people), those living near the central uranium mine operated by Uranium Corp. of India Ltd. (UCIL), have suffered disproportionately high health problems……….

Second, while Tony Abbott reiterated that ‘suitable safeguards’ were in place to ensure that Australian uranium would be used for ‘peaceful purposes’ and for ‘civilian use only’, such ambiguous terms create false impressions. Nuclear technologies are inherently dual-use (both for civil energy production and military use), and it is disingenuous to claim that a water-tight separation can be ensured. In fact, ten of India’s twenty nuclear facilities do not fall under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervisional authority, and India only selectively recognises IAEA safeguards for specific foreign supplied reactors and facilities. With no mechanism to inspect this nuclear technology to ensure that the fuel is not diverted into nuclear weapons production, safety cannot be guaranteed.

Even if the diverted fuel was discovered, neither Australia nor the IAEA could force compliance. An influx of imported foreign uranium will simply make it easier for India to reserve some of its indigenous uranium for enrichment and/or reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium, or for some of Australia’s uranium to be ‘misallocated’ toward military facilities.

In effect, Tony Abbott’s policy to treat India as the exception undermines the IAEA standards within the disarmament regime, and breaches Australia’s obligations to the Rarotonga Treaty for the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.

Third, and perhaps most significant, the deal will upset the ‘balance’ between India-Pakistan and in the South Asian region so as to aggravate rivalries and intensify tensions between the two nations, as well as others such as China and Bangladesh………

While leaders such as Abe, Abbott and Modi downplay the reality confronting people affected by radiation exposures from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we should remember that this contamination came, in part, from Australian uranium.

The refusal of executive leaders to acknowledge the dangers of the uranium trade reflects the centrality of nuclear power to the US-led security regime that seeks to dominate non-compliant nations such as China or Russia………

Dr Adam Broinowski is an ARC postdoctoral research fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University.


September 24, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, India, politics international | Leave a comment

China joins the nuclear marketing frenzy to sell to India

fighters-marketing-1China joins nations eyeing India’s civil nuclear sector, Cold Air Currents, 21 Sept 14  Yahoo News UK:  NEW DELHI (Reuters) - China became the latest nation to line up for a stake in India’s civil nuclear energy drive on Thursday, agreeing to open talks on cooperation in a sector that New Delhi sees as the solution to its chronic power problems.

...”I think the Chinese are looking basically at the commercial angle, since India is going to be giving contracts for nearly $150 billion in the next 10-15 years,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, a China watcher at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The announcement, made after Xi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, comes on the heels of a deal India struck earlier this month to buy uranium from Australia to increase its fuel supplies.
Days before that, Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to accelerate talks on a nuclear energy pact……

September 22, 2014 Posted by | China, India, marketing | Leave a comment

India’s uranium legacy of birth defects

flag-indiaIndia’s nuclear nightmare: The village of birth defects The By:  on Mon Sep 15 2014 Indian court trying to unravel mystery of sick and disabled children, miscarriages and fatal cancers around the country’s first uranium mine……..Now, an Indian court wants to unravel the mystery of what is happening in Jadugora, the hub of India’s uranium mining industry since the late 1960s……..

Today, nuclear power provides less than 5 per cent of India’s electricity. The aim is to make it 25 per cent by 2050. This month, Australia signed an agreement giving India access to its vast supplies of uranium.

But activists say Jadugora is paying the price for India’s nuclear dreams……….

Until a decade ago, miners took their uniforms home to be washed by their wives or daughters, says Xavier Dias, a political activist who has worked for decades with the indigenous people who made up the majority of the mine’s workforce.

“They never wore masks then … or boots. Or even gloves.”

The workers were free to take building materials from the mine and even waste material, which they used to build their homes, he says.

When people began to notice that young women were having miscarriages, witches and spirits were blamed. Prayers were said to ward off the “evil eye.” 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.

“If you ask the tribals (as the indigenous people are known) who have lived there for decades, long before uranium was discovered, they will tell you that they lived healthy lives, drank from the rivers, ate fruits and vegetables … and they never saw the inside of a hospital,” says Dias……

In Jadugora, tailing ponds take up more than 65 hectares — and they are all uncovered with easy access for people and animals. A few homes stand fewer than 50 metres from the pond’s edge. There are some no-trespassing signs, but children still play cricket or hopscotch nearby. Another tailing pond a few kilometres away sits beside a busy street with pipes constantly delivering more sludge.

The tailing ponds tend to overflow, especially during monsoon season, say villagers. If that happens, radioactivity can seep out and contaminate the groundwater and rivers. River water is used for washing and bathing, sowing and irrigation — and sometimes for drinking.

Trucks filled with yellow cake or mine waste trundle day and night along the highway. The cakes are covered with flimsy plastic covers; sometimes bits of rubble fall off………

The Jharkhand High Court is also looking for answers.

In March, it sent a notice to UCILasking for an explanation for the deformities, cancers and miscarriages around the Jadugora mine. It based the notice on local media reports, which included shocking pictures of children who were sick or deformed. (The demand was made by the court unilaterally, without a filing by officials or victims, in what is known as a suo moto action.)

According to local reports, UCIL told the court that the radiation emitted through its mining is under permissible limits and contained within a safe zone. The court refused to accept the submissions because they were old.

In August, the court also asked that the company disclose the radiation levels and the presence of any heavy metals in soil and water in the cluster of villages around Jadugora. It also asked UCIL to explain how it ensures the safety of those who live near radioactive waste.

The answers are due in November……….

While families of children with deformities will tell their stories to reporters, the families of women who have been unable to get pregnant or who have had unexplained miscarriages often don’t.

Since Jadugora’s health problems made the local newspapers, few families receive marriage offers for their daughters. In a country where not being able to bear children is such a stigma that women are either thrown out by their in-laws or banished to their parents’ homes, Jadugora women are now tainted and unwanted……….

September 17, 2014 Posted by | children, India | Leave a comment

Closure of uranium mines by State in East Singhbhum

Uranium Corporation stops mining at Jadugora after 47 years ,TNN | Sep 8, 2014 JAMSHEDPUR: Uranium Corporation of India stopped all mining activities at Jadugora in East Singhbhum from Sunday after 47 years. following a ministry order in July.
The Centre, following a Supreme Court order in May on amendment of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, issued a directive to all mineral-rich states on July 12 asking them to stop mining by corporate entities under deemed extension. The state then ordered closure of the decades-old uranium mines. “We have served the notice to UCIL (Uranium Corporation of India) informing the company about the directive of the state government,” said district mining officer Ratnesh Kumar Sinha…….

September 9, 2014 Posted by | India, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

The one big hurdle to the India-Japan nuclear deal

The hurdles to this deal emanate from Japan’s insistence that no reprocessing of spent fuel would be done in India, and that in the event of a nuclear test by India, the components supplied would be immediately returned to Japan.

The nuclear thorn in India-Japan ties BHASKAR BALAKRISHNAN 5 SEPT  14 The recent visit to Japan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought into focus the ongoing India-Japan negotiations on a civil nuclear agreement. This remains an item of unfinished business, though both sides have declared that it would be pursued with greater vigour. Exactly how important is this agreement in the context of India’s nuclear programme? What factors underlie the Japanese position? Continue reading

September 6, 2014 Posted by | India, Japan, politics international, Reference | Leave a comment

Why Australia should NOT sell uranium to India

Australian and Indian nuclear trade Hasan Ehtisham 4 Sept 14  Adding Australian uranium into India’s energy mix would have serious fallouts on prevailing strained relations between India and its nuclear-armed neighbours  Australia is expected to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott early next month. Negotiations have been concluded to smooth the path for uranium imports from Australia.


The news came out when hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women protested against the expanding nuclear industry. These protests have been a regular feature in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana), and at least five activists have lost their lives since 2010 in their struggle against the Indian government’s decision without taking the affected parties on board. Radioactive waste from uranium mining in the country’s east is reportedly affecting adjacent communities. Thousands of Indians suffer from the effects of uranium mining  related to poor technical and management practices.

Australia controls the planet’s largest known uranium reserves. Uranium is a controversial and debatable subject in Canberra because it can be used both for civil and military purposes. Australia had previously cancelled plans to sell uranium to India as it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but it was the Indo-US nuclear deal that paved the way for the ban’s lifting. The move of lifting the ban came despite a parliamentary report on nuclear safety regulation in India emphasising grave nuclear safety concerns and organisational flaws when compared to international norms. India’s auditor general in this report has designated the country’s nuclear industry as insecure, disordered and, in many cases, unregulated. The report underlined the fact that there is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety after almost 30 years.
It is an unpredictable and unjustified security situation into which Australia is selling uranium. The Australian government’s idea to sell uranium to India was strongly criticised by Australians but the government seems inclined to disregard it. Analysts in Australia are opposing the uranium sale without preconditions and any meaningful concessions from India, like the Indian ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and stopping the production of nuclear bomb making material.
Seen from the perspective of adherence to non-proliferation norms and commitments, if Australia exports uranium to India, Australia would violate its obligations of the treaty of Rarotonga that binds it to not indulging in such trade. Article 4 of the Rarotonga Treaty requires India to comply with the safeguards requirements of Article III (1) of the NPT. Article III (1) of the NPT is about reaching a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Instead, India has only acknowledged safeguards on certain foreign supplied reactors and facilities. India’s safeguards agreement is based upon the IAEA’s “facility specific” safeguards.
Australian uranium sale to India will be subjected to weak monitoring safeguards or facility specific safeguards of the IAEA contrary to nuclear deals Australia has with other countries. Andrew Davies from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute highlighted IAEA’s inability to screen exactly where uranium sent to India from Australia goes if comprehensive monitoring safeguards are not applied. “For example, if 100 tonnes go into a civilian nuclear programme and 90 tonnes of products come out, they do not know where the missing product was diverted from,” he convincingly argues.
A defence research group, IHS Jane’s, has revealed that India is increasing its uranium facility that could support the expansion of nuclear weapons. India is trying to buy foreign sources of uranium so she can use its domestic reserves for a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. India is expanding its nuclear power programme to use its own uranium for the production of more nuclear weapons. Adding Australian uranium into India’s energy mix would have serious fallouts on prevailing strained relations between India and its nuclear-armed neighbours. Can Australia trust India to not use Australian uranium for weapons manufacture?
Non-proliferation is a top agenda item when it comes to Pakistan, Iran or North Korea but it is an inoperable standard when it is India or Israel. The commencement of nuclear trade with India, first by Washington in 2008 and currently by Canberra, has immense repercussions. It will profoundly upset the proliferation equation for other countries in the region. The India-Australia nuclear deal will aggravate India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry and exacerbate Pakistan’s security dilemma. Both countries have nuclear weapons and so this commitment by the Aussies will no doubt intensify India-Pakistan tensions. Nuclear trade with India will profoundly upset strategic stability in the South Asian region.

September 4, 2014 Posted by | India, safety | Leave a comment


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