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
World has not woken up to water crisis caused by climate change: IPCC head, Planet Ark, 04-Feb-15 INDIA Author: Nita Bhalla Water scarcity could lead to conflict between communities and nations as the world is still not fully aware of the water crisis many countries face as a result of climate change, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists warned on Tuesday.
The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a rise in global temperature of between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5 to 8.6 Fahrenheit) by the late 21st century.
Countries such as India are likely to be hit hard by global warming, which will bring more freak weather such as droughts that will lead to serious water shortages and affect agricultural output and food security.
“Unfortunately, the world has not really woken up to the reality of what we are going to face in terms of the crises as far as water is concerned,” IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri told participants at a conference on water security.
“If you look at agricultural products, if you look at animal protein – the demand for which is growing – that’s highly water intensive. At the same time, on the supply side, there are going to be several constraints. Firstly because there are going to be profound changes in the water cycle due to climate change.”
Development experts around the world have become increasingly concerned about water security in recent years.
More frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change, pollution of rivers and lakes, urbanization, over-extraction of ground water and expanding populations mean that many nations such as India face serious water shortages.
In addition, the demand for more power by countries like India to fuel their economic growth has resulted in a need to harness more water for hydropower dams and nuclear plants……….http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/72777
Is the India nuclear agreement really the ‘breakthrough’ Obama promised? WP, By Annie Gowen and Steven Mufson February 4 NEW DELHI — President Obama stood alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India’s capital just days ago and announced a “breakthrough understanding” that the two countries hoped would pave the way for U.S. firms to sell nuclear reactors to India.
But 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, despite the developing country’s fast-growing and dire power needs.
So far, the details of the agreement have been sketchy at best……….
The key issue will be whether the conflict between international 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, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his professional relationships.
A second obstacle has been the requirement in the Hyde Act of 2006 that the Indian government and an independent auditor annually provide information about the form, amounts and location of any uranium supplied to India to make sure it is not diverted for military use……..
India is a special case — and nonproliferation experts have special concerns about it. India’s first nuclear reactor dates to 1956; the country has 21 reactors at seven power plant sites.
The United States and Canada withdrew support for the nuclear program after the country exploded a nuclear device in 1974, and the United States and Japan imposed sanctions after the 1998 tests.
Members of Congress will want to be sure that India cannot skirt the Bush-era legislation and did not simply wear down American negotiators to achieve the present agreement………
Even if the thorny details of the liability question are worked out — a big “if,” analysts say — American companies still face the political realities of India. Although the government concedes that nuclear power must remain part of the country’s energy mix, particularly to counter rising greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power plants remain unpopular with local residents, and acquiring land to build plants can take years.
In the end, said M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian ambassador who is now an analyst, the “breakthrough” touted by Obama and Modi may end up being more of a diplomatic success than a commercial breakthrough………http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/is-the-india-nuclear-agreement-really-the-breakthrough-obama-promised/2015/02/04/bc0b0dd2-abc1-11e4-8876-460b1144cbc1_story.html
Obama’s visit and the much-hyped nuclear deal, DNA Tuesday, 3 February 2015 Exploiting fully the servile attitude of this Modi government, being offered on a platter, US President Barack Obama, on his recent State visit to India as the guest of our 66thRepublic Day Parade, got what he wanted from India to rejuvenate the beleaguered US economy.
The Left parties opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal and the subsequent developments which led to the withdrawal of the support from the UPA-I government were based on very serious apprehensions concerning the consequences of this deal. These relate to pressures to transform the Indian independent foreign policy positions towards those of a subordinate US ally; forcing India to further open up its economy to the profit maximisation of US corporations and India being drawn into USA’s strategic and military network as a steadfast accomplice.
The Modi government has reportedly gone ahead to permit the circumvention of US manufactured nuclear reactors’ liability in the case of a nuclear accident. Reports indicate that Section 17(b) of the Act will be interpreted in the Rules to enable the Indian State-owned insurance corporations to offer a cover of Rs750 crores to cover supplier’s liability, while a government back-up will extend this to Rs1,500 crores. India will pay the premium for such an insurance policy to the foreign suppliers. ……http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-obama-s-visit-and-the-much-hyped-nuclear-deal-2057646
But what is the news? Here’s how the paper’s Mandakini Gahlot summarizes the agreement:
Picking up from a stalled 2008 civil nuclear agreement between the two countries, the deal would allow US firms to invest in energy in India. It also resolves a dispute over US insistence on tracking fissile material it supplies to the country and over Indian liability provisions that have discouraged US firms from capitalizing on the agreement.”……
These corporations–who have the political backing of the US government–have succeeded in getting international conventions to agree that “no one other than operators can be held responsible” in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. The suppliers want assurances that these international conventions, and not Indian law, will be applied in the wake of such an event.
The “breakthrough” between Obama and Modi seems to be an agreement that the law will be “tweaked” to let US corporations off the hook in case of a devastating accident. For example, suppliers of nuclear equipment could be redefined as “contractors” and therefore not be liable under Indian law.
Of course, if USA Today explained that Obama had gotten the Indian prime minister to find a loophole that would allow US corporations to avoid having to compensate victims of nuclear disasters that they contributed to, that would be harder to present as a “good news!” story. http://fair.org/blog/2015/01/27/good-news-us-corporations-wont-have-to-pay-for-nuclear-disasters-in-india/
India tests nuclear-capable missile from mobile launcher,DW, 30 Jan 15 India has carried out the first launch of its Agni-V long-range missile from a mobile mount. The weapon, which can carry nuclear warheads, is capable of reaching China and even Europe.
Saturday’s test-launch of the Agni-V ballistic missile was the first time that the weapon has been fired from a truck mount – called a “canister” – rather than a concrete launchpad, a spokesman for India’s Defense Research and Development Organization said.
The mobile launchpad will facilitate flexible deployment of the missile, which has a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) – making it capable of reaching the Chinese mainland, or nearly all of western Europe.
“Successful test-firing of Agni-V from a canister makes the missile a prized asset for our forces,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.
The 17-meter (18.6-yard) weapon, which weighs 50 tons, was launched from the test range on Wheeler Island off the eastern state of Orissa.
It is the third time that the Agni-V missile, named after the Sanskrit word for “fire,” has been tested, having received its initial launch in April 2012 (pictured above).
Deterring ‘evil eyes’
The test comes as India, the largest importer of arms in the world, is involved in a defense upgrade to the tune of $100 billion (88.6 billion euros).
Modi has said he wants to increase India’s military power to the extent that no other country “dare cast an evil eye” on it. His right-wing government has pushed on with long-delayed projects worth over $60 billion since taking power in elections in May. http://www.dw.de/india-tests-nuclear-capable-missile-from-mobile-launcher/a-18227324
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