Global Watchdog Slams India’s Nuclear Regulations NDTV All India | Written by Pallava Bagla | Updated: March 27, 2015 NEW DELHI: India’s atomic regulatory body is not independent and lacks internal emergency arrangements, a draft report by the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has said.
India, it also said, should allow more safety inspections of nuclear plants by independent bodies. These
facts have often been stated by anti-nuclear activists.
The experts of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service made their assessment after visiting various nuclear facilities during a 12-day trip to India at the invitation of the government.
India and Pakistan Locked in a Nuclear Naval Arms Race A new report provides a useful summary of the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean. The Diplomat By Franz-Stefan Gady March 28, 2015 A while back, I reported on the murky detailssurrounding Pakistan’s sea-based nuclear deterrent. Much of it remains a mystery, including its future submarine force.
Conversely, the Indian Navy still does not have a capable ballistic missile with which to arm the INS Arihant – New Delhi’s only ballistic missile submarine (which only began sea trials in December). India’s submarine fleet is also experiencing difficulties in maintaining its readiness rate, which has dropped below 40 percent.
However, both India and Pakistan are set to continue to develop their naval nuclear forces, as a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace points out. Yet, this should not automatically be a cause for alarm, Iskander Rehman, the author of a newly released Carnegie policy paper, argues.
“By further institutionalizing relations between their navies and by insisting on stronger transparency with regard to naval nuclear developments, both countries may succeed in adding a greater degree of stability to what otherwise promises to be a dangerously volatile maritime environment,” he notes.
Rehman highlights a few other interesting points about the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean:
- India’s pursuit of a sea-based nuclear strike force is the next logical step in its quest for an assured retaliatory capability.
- To enjoy an effective sea-based deterrent vis-à-vis China, India’s other prospective nuclear adversary, New Delhi has to develop larger SSBNs with greater missile carriage capacity and more powerful nuclear reactors.
- Pakistan’s naval nuclear ambitions are fueled primarily by the sense of a growing conventional, rather than strategic, imbalance between New Delhi and Islamabad.
- By dispersing low-yield nuclear weapons across a variety of naval platforms, Islamabad aims to acquire escalation dominance and greater strategic depth and to reduce the incentives for a preemptive strike on its nuclear assets.
Interestingly, Rehman also underlines that, “the submarine-based leg of India’s nuclear triad will have a major impact on the nation’s existing command-and-control arrangements.”…….http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/india-and-pakistan-locked-in-a-nuclear-naval-arms-race/
Renewables to Get Most of $1 Billion ExIm Bank Credit Reed Landberg (Bloomberg) 27 Mar 15 – Renewable energy developers will receive “the vast majority” of a $1 billion credit line the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. extended to India, the institution’s president said.
Regulatory policies in India, including terms for selling power, are conducive to financing solar- and wind-power projects, and make it easier for the bank to ensure it will be repaid, said Fred Hochberg, who is also chairman of the Washington-based lender.
The comments are an indication that the ExIm bank’s funding for renewables is poised to rise ….. The credit line sealed during President Barack Obama’s visit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January is part of the U.S. effort to back an unprecedented expansion of clean energy in developing nations and check rising pollution blamed for global warming.
Modi wants to install by 2022 five times as many photovoltaics as the U.S. has now, an ambition that may cost $160 billion, according to the Council on Energy, Environment & Water, a research group in New Delhi. Obama wants India to join in a global deal limiting greenhouse gases, and India’s ministers are seeking financial support from the West to cut the cost of emissions.
The U.S. developer SunEdison Inc. announced in January plans to build as much as 5 gigawatts of wind and solar power in India, and First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar manufacturer, is also developing power plants in the country. Regulations in India permit power purchase agreements that extend as long as 20 years. That makes it easier for banks to finance solar and wind projects…….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-26/renewables-to-get-most-of-1-billion-exim-bank-credit
Australia and India face a graver test than cricket Against the backdrop of Australia and India squaring up in the World Cup cricket, the two nations now face a test with much graver consequences, write Dave Sweeney and Jim Green. SBS News, 26 Mar 15 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed a uranium deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last September, he praised India’s “absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record”. This praise came despite the reality that India is actively expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal and its missile delivery capabilities.
Mr Abbott declined to answer serious questions about India’s nuclear weapons program or the inadequate safety standards in and inadequate regulation of its civil nuclear program. Instead, he offered a cricketing cliché, declaring that Australia and India trust each other on issues like uranium safeguards because of “the fundamentally ethical principle that every cricketer is supposed to assimilate – play by the rules and accept the umpire’s decision”.
Gaining comfort from clichés while ignoring inconvenient truths might work for those in Canberra and mining company boardrooms but it fails any real world test.
The proposed India uranium agreement is currently being considered by federal parliament’s treaties committee, and it has yet to be ratified by parliament. Submissions to the treaties committee have raised many serious concerns − and not just from the usual suspects.
Those raising concerns and objections include John Carlson, former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office; Ron Walker, former Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors; Prof. Lawrence Scheinman, former Assistant Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Princeton University physicist Dr M.V. Ramana; and nuclear arms control expert Crispin Rovere.
The uranium agreement with India weakens Australia’s nuclear safeguards standards, increases the chances of Australian uranium finding its way into Indian weapons and would lead to further undermining of nuclear checks and balances. If the uranium agreement is approved there will be sustained pressure for Australia to apply equally inadequate standards to other uranium customer countries. As John Carlson notes in his submission: “If the Government does compromise Australia’s safeguards conditions, inevitably this will lead to other agreement partners asking for similar treatment.”
Mr Carlson’s critique carries particular weight given that for over two decades he was the head of Australia’s nuclear safeguards office……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/26/comment-australia-and-india-face-graver-test-cricket
IS THE INDIA NUCLEAR AGREEMENT REALLY THE ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ OBAMA PROMISED? Chauthi Duniya, March 20th, 2015 Analysts and experts familiar with the negotiations say that the legal issues remain so complex that private U.S. companies may continue to shy away from new deals in India,….
The Indian Government has already slated sites for nuclear power facilities for Westinghouse Toshiba in the western state of Gujarat and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in the state of Andhra Pradesh. “My feeling is that there’s not as much there,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the nonprofit Arms Control Association, a non-proliferation watchdog group. “The real test is, will GE or Westinghouse say ‘this is good enough for us’ or not and whether they will sign contracts.”…….
The key issue will be whether the conflict between international law and Indian law can be waved away by a memorandum from India’s Attorney General. The memorandum would have to say that the 2010 liability law “doesn’t mean what it says,” said a Washington lawyer familiar with the issues but who asked for anonymity to protect his professional relationships. Continue reading
India’s Renewable energy sector to generate $160 billion business in five years: Economic Survey By ET Bureau | 27 Feb, 2015 NEW DELHI: Positioning India as a responsible nation committed to sustainable development, the Economic Survey 2014-15 has said the Indian clean energy sector is likely to generate business opportunities to the order of $160 billion for the next five years. …….
It elaborates that in India renewable energy offers very good opportunity for businesses to set and scale up industry, leapfrog technologies, and create volumes. Some of India’s major immediate plans on renewable energy include scaling up cumulative installed capacity to 170 GW that includes 100 GW of solar power by 2022 and establishing a National University for Renewable Energy.
To provide a big push to solar energy, two new schemes — ‘Scheme for Development of Solar Parks………..
Major terror attack against India could trigger nuclear war: experts http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150226/world-neighbours/article/major-terror-attack-against-india-could-trigger-nuclear-war-experts PTI | February 26, 2015, Washington: Pakistan may use nuclear weapons against India if the latter goes for a large scale military assault against it in retaliation for a major terror attack emanating from across the border, two top American experts have warned US lawmakers.
Given the presence of a strong government in New Delhi and the pressure on it from Indian citizens in the event of a repeat of 26/11 type terror attack, the ties between the two neighbours have greater danger of escalating towards a devastating nuclear warfare, in particular from Pakistan.
Such a dangerous scenario can only be avoided by the US working with Islamabad to ensure that there is no further large scale terror attack on India emanating from Pakistan, two top American experts. George Perkovich and Ashley Tellis, told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committe and Sub committee on Strategic Forces during a hearing yesterday. Continue reading
India nuke enrichment plant expansion operational in 2015 – IHS BY DOUGLAS BUSVINENEW DELHI Fri Jun 20, 2014 (Reuters) – India is expanding a covert uranium enrichment plant that could potentially support the development of thermonuclear weapons, a defence research group said on Friday, raising the stakes in an arms race with China and Pakistan.
The revelation highlights a lack of nuclear safeguards on India under new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while sanctions-bound Iran faces minute scrutiny in talks with world powers over its own nuclear programme.
New units at the Indian Rare Metals Plant would boost India’s ability to produce weapons-grade uranium to twice the amount needed for its planned nuclear-powered submarine fleet, IHS Jane’s said.
The facility, located near Mysore in southern India, could be operational by mid-2015, the research group said, basing its findings on analysis of satellite imagery and public statements by Indian officials.
“Taking into account all the enriched uranium likely to be needed by the Indian nuclear submarine fleet, there is likely to be a significant excess,” Matthew Clements, editor of IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, told Reuters.
“One potential use of this would be for the development of thermonuclear weapons.” No comment was available from the Indian government press office or the foreign ministry. Pakistan reacted with consternation, with a senior aide to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying the news underscored India’s “established hegemony”…….http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/20/india-nuclear-idINKBN0EV0JR20140620
India’s Largest Bank Commits $12.5 Billion For Renewable Energy Funding Clean Technica February 19th, 2015 by Smiti Mittal Private sector project developers in India’s rapidly growing renewable energy would be happy to have the backing of the country’s largest bank as they get ready to participate in cut-throat competitive bidding.
The State Bank of India (SBI) has committed to provide $12.5 billion in debt funding to renewable energy projects over the next few years. The announcement was made at the RE-INVEST summit organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
The bank hopes to provide debt financing to 15 GW of renewable energy projects, most of which are likely to be based on wind and solar energy…….
Over the last few years some private banks in India have signed deals with development banks to provide loans at concessional rates. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is also expected to provide loans at low rates following its recent agreements with the European Investment Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the US Export-Import Bank……
This announcement by the country’s largest bank and the recent funding agreement worth $4 billion with the US is expected to boost the growth of the Indian renewable energy sector.
Smiti Mittal works as a senior solar engineer at Mott MacDonald, a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India. http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/19/indias-largest-bank-commits-12-5-billion-renewable-energy-funding/
India to supply nuclear reactors to Sri Lanka By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | 17 Feb, 2015 NEW DELHI: With an eye on checking China’s growing ambitions in South Asia, India has signed a landmark civil nuclear pact with Sri Lanka – the first such agreement to supply nuclear power reactors to a foreign nation – and decided to expand defence and security cooperation to address Colombo’s requirements.
By granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program. To get uranium to India, the U.S. pressured members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to “[ease] long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India.” Since then, Australia has committed to providing India with uranium
The international community would do best if it encouraged and helped India and Pakistan to settle their differences and accede to the NPT – and if no nation provided either of them with new nuclear technology or fuel until they scale back their military nuclear programs………
The Darker Side of the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal The recent “breakthrough” is cause more for concern than it is for celebration. The Diplomat By Amitai Etzioni February 13, 2015 The American media is gushing about improvements to the United States-India relationship in the wake of President Barack Obama’s January visit to India. Among the achievements stemming from the visit is what the media had called a “breakthrough” that paved the way for implementing the two nations’ civilian nuclear cooperation deal. However, examining the reasons why this deal was first struck, its components, and its side effects suggests that it is a cause more for concern than for celebration. Continue reading
The same stumbling block over parallel safeguards in perpetuity has held up India’s conclusion of nuclear deals with Japan and Australia
India’s bitter experience over the 1984 gas leak from an American-owned Bhopal city plant that killed about as many people as the Fukushima disaster. Indeed, Japan’s dual liability laws, which indemnify suppliers and make plant operators exclusively liable, should serve as a sobering lesson for India: GE built or designed all the three Fukushima reactors that suffered core meltdowns in 2011, yet the U.S. firm went scot-free, despite a fundamental design deficiency in the reactors.
With complex legal, pricing and other issues still pending, the deal’s commercialization is anything but imminent. In fact, the two sides are yet to sign the administrative arrangements, which they announced had been “finalized.”
It is an open question whether the deal will ever yield substantive energy benefits for India, given the exorbitant price of foreign-origin reactors, the concomitant need for India to heavily subsidize the electricity from such plants, and grassroots safety concerns over the Fukushima-type multi-plant nuclear parks earmarked by India for Westinghouse, GE-Hitachi and Areva, each of which is to sell prototype LWR models presently not in operation anywhere in the world.
The U.S.-India nuclear breakthrough that wasn’t, Japan Times 12 Feb 15 BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY During U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent India visit, a stalled, decade-old civil nuclear deal took center-stage, with the two sides announcing a breakthrough on the contentious issues blocking its implementation — a development that promised to potentially open the path for a Japan-India nuclear deal. It now appears that the breakthrough was more hype than reality and that there is little prospect of the U.S.-India deal’s early commercialization……..
it has now become apparent that the U.S. and India are still locked in negotiations to tie up loose ends and that the much-trumpeted breakthrough was little more than an effort to project a substantive advance during a presidential visit rich in pageantry and symbolism. Obama was the chief guest at India’s Jan. 26 Republic Day parade, a year after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had that honor.
While claiming a breakthrough, neither side released any details, including on how another sticking point had been resolved: a U.S. demand that New Delhi accept nuclear-material tracking and accounting arrangements Continue reading
The law has stalled the implementation of deals for new reactors that India signed with the U.S., Russia, and France in 2008, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowed India to import nuclear fuel technology without being a member of the multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation. India said the breakthrough deal with Russia reached this April after four years of negotiations takes into account the liability law when pricing four more Russian reactors meant for India’s Kundankulam plant in Tamil Nadu (each of which is valued at $2.5 billion) as well as four or six other VVER-1200 units planned for Haripur, West Bengal. The deal essentially calls for India’s public sector General Insurance Co. to evaluate each component of the Russian reactors and prescribe a 20-year insurance premium it will charge to cover Russia’s liability for an accident.
Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom reportedly has indemnity from any liability arising from an accident at the VVER-1000s at Kundankulam Unit 1 (Figure 2), which attained criticality in July 2013 and is expected to come online later this year, and Unit 2, expected to be operational in October 2014. Observers note that contracts for those plants were signed in 1998, before India’s domestic liability legislation had even been contemplated.
Before Indian legislation on civil nuclear liability—The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill—finally passed both houses of parliament in August 2010, exempting suppliers from all liability had been India’s typical practice, starting in 1962, when India signed its first nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. to allow General Electric to supply two 200-MW reactors to India’s Tarapur site. The practice of liability exemption was modeled on America’s own 1957-passed nuclear liability law, the Price Anderson Act, and went on to extend indemnity protection to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. for two reactors in Rajasthan in 1965, and later to Russia. Continue reading
The nuclear ‘breakthrough’ is mostly hype: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/the-nuclear-breakthrough-is-mostly-hype-swaminathan-sa-aiyar/articleshow/46162264.cms Swaminathan SA Aiyar 8 Feb, 2015 ndian officials say the Obama visit broke a seven-year logjam in nuclear cooperation, opening the way for US firms to set up nuclear power plants in India.
The Modi-Obama meeting whipped up a lot of fizz and optimism. Problem: the key issue is not political at all but commercial. The entities that must be convinced are not US presidents but heads of nuclear corporations like GE and Toshiba-Westinghouse. And no corporation so far is convinced that India’s nuclear liability law has ceased to be a hurdle.
An Indo-US agreement was indeed reached on a completely separate issue — tracking the movement of US nuclear materials to ensure India did not divert these to military use. This was an additional roadblock in case of the US. But overcoming this does not settle the much bigger roadblock — unlimited liability — that all four supplier nations are complaining about.
US nuclear ‘breakthrough’ cloud on France deal, Telegraph New Delhi, Feb. 5:France has indicated it may want to use elements of the nuclear liability “breakthrough” India and the US have claimed, in setting up its own reactors in this country, signalling potential for competitive bargaining over the terms New Delhi offers to different nations.
India last year offered France and Russia – the two nations other than the US that have committed to selling nuclear reactors – an insurance pool created by Indian public sector firms to fund any compensation following an accident from their reactors.
The US had so far appeared unconvinced by the insurance pool plan. Its apparent turnaround during President Barack Obama’s India visit last week has sparked speculation in the capital’s diplomatic enclave that New Delhi may have offered Washington a particularly sweet deal……….
France is pandering to Modi’s pet initiative of “Make in India” by promising to build “large parts of the Areva reactors” in India. And unlike the US, France had also never sought any change in the nuclear liability law despite its concerns that the law was draconian and out of line with global standards, the senior French official said…….
The Indian foreign office also pointed to France’s acceptance of India’s liability law.”Every country has a different approach to this matter,” Akbaruddin said, citing the example of uranium India already sources from France. “With France, the template of our engagement is already set.” http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150206/jsp/nation/story_1764.jsp#.VNUrReaUcnk
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