NTPC’s efforts to get into nuclear power have slowed down even as the public sector power generation behemoth is focussing more on renewable energy.
A senior company official said the uncertainty due to higher tariff cost, along with some earlier ‘legislative hurdles’ are the reasons for lesser excitement for nuclear power projects.
The Parliament cleared the amendment to the Atomic Energy Act 1962 on December 31, 2015. This allowed the joint venture PSUs (public sector undertakeings) to build and operate nuclear power plants.
Impact of delay
NTPC officials BusinessLine spoke to said that ASHVINI — the joint venture between NTPC and Nuclear Power Corporation of India — was to be allocated the 2×700 MW Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP) project in Haryana. But due to delays in the amendment to the law, NPCIL decided to go ahead and build the plant itself.
In 2010, the then Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary, Srikumar Banerjee, had said that one of the sites identified by the DAE for the 2×700 MW plant would go to a NTPC and NPCIL joint venture company.
In 2011, NTPC-NPCIL formed the Anushakti Vidhyut Nigam Ltd (ASHVINI) with the objective of building nuclear power plants.
But the JV could not begin building nuclear power plants as the Atomic Energy Act did not allow joint ventures of PSUs for the same.
NTPC officials say that the expected power tariff from GHAVP is likely to be close to ₹10/kWh. Further, the plant will be commissioned in another 10 years.
High cost a concern
Assessing the subdued price of power in the country and the low price of renewable energy, officials said that the high tariff cost will be of concern when the plant is commissioned.
Considering that amendments to the Atomic Energy Act have been approved, it is now the prerogative of the DAE to allocate GHAVP to ASHVINI, according to NTPC officials.
In 2014, the estimated cost of the entire project of 28 GW, to be built in two phases, was envisaged at ₹20,594 crore.
Pak should have privileges as India in nuclear development: Chinese state media Hindustan Times, Jan 05, 2017 India has “broken” UN limits on nuclear arms and long-range missiles and Pakistan should also be accorded the same “privilege”, state-run Chinese media said on Thursday as it criticised New Delhi for carrying out Agni-4 and 5 missile tests whose range covers the Chinese mainland.
“India has broken the UN’s limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile,” the ruling Communist Party-run tabloid Global Times said in its editorial.
“The US and some Western countries have also bent the rules on its nuclear plans. New Delhi is no longer satisfied with its nuclear capability and is seeking intercontinental ballistic missiles that can target anywhere in the world and then it can land on an equal footing with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members,” it said.
“In general, it is not difficult for India to produce intercontinental ballistic missiles which can cover the whole world. If the UN Security Council has no objection over this, let it be. The range of Pakistan’s nuclear missiles will also see an increase. If the world can adapt to these, China should too,” it said.
The references to violation of UN rules by the daily were significant as the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying while reacting to India’s Agni-5 missile test said on December 27 that ”on whether India can develop this ballistic missile that can carry nuclear weapons, I think relevant resolutions of the UNSC have clear rules”. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pak-should-have-privileges-as-india-in-nuclear-development-chinese-state-media/story-ac8Oad5ab7abln3mfzNlcM.html
2.5 billion people, nukes and missiles. What could go wrong? By Joshua Berlinger, CNN January 5, 2017
India-Pakistan War In 2017? Nuclear Neighbors Still Locked In Conflict Approaching New Year http://www.ibtimes.com/india-pakistan-war-2017-nuclear-neighbors-still-locked-conflict-approaching-new-year-2467636 BY ON 12/30/16 As much of the world focuses on the growing hostilities between the United States and Russia as well as the war in Syria heading into 2017, it would be easy to forget about an ongoing conflict between two nuclear-armed neighbors.
For Indian and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since becoming independent states in 1947, 2016 was a year of drastically deteriorating relations. And as they prepare to welcome in the new year, the two countries continue to be locked in an exchange of fire along the border separating the disputed region of Kashmir.
A ceasefire agreement signed between the two countries in Kashmir in 2003 has been rendered effectively redundant. That was evident just this week when India claimed that the Pakistani army engaged in heavy fire targeting Indian positions across the Line of Control, killing one civilian. India made clear it would retaliate strongly.
The latest spike in tensions between India and Pakistan began when an Indian army base in Kashmir was attacked on Sept. 18, killing 19. India claimed that the attack was carried out by militants hailing from Pakistan and retaliated by carrying out what it called “surgical strikes” on a terrorist stronghold on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control. Pakistan vigorously disputed that version of events.
Pakistan also claimed this week that India was violating a 1947 United Nations Security Council Resolution on Kashmir by attempting to change the demography of Kashmir through the settling of non-locals in the region.
Escalating fears yet further, India successfully tested Monday its most powerful nuclear-capable missile.
India Tests Long-Range Nuclear Missile that Can Hit Targets in China, http://www.voanews.com/a/india-tests-long-range-nuclear-missile-that-can-hit-targets-in-china/3651079.html VOA, Anjana Pasricha, 26 Dec 16, NEW DELHI —
India has successfully carried out a fourth test of its nuclear-capable, intercontinental Agni-V missile, which can hit targets more than 5,000 kilometers away, effectively putting China’s northernmost areas within range of Indian nuclear weapons.
The 17.5-meter-long, 50-ton surface-to-surface missile was test fired Monday from Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of the eastern Odisha state, and splashed down near Australian waters.
Ajay Lele, at New Delhi’s Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, says the test ensured the Agni-V missile is operational.
“After this, the missile will be handed over for the operationalization of it to India’s strategic forces command and they will undertake two tests and subsequently the missile will come into India’s armory,” said Lele.
Earlier generations of Agni missiles, developed over the last decade, are capable of striking anywhere in Pakistan, India’s neighbor and South Asian rival. The two countries have fought three wars and tensions continue to run high. Pakistan also possesses nuclear weapons.
Defense analysts say the longer-range Agni-V missile has been developed with an eye on China, which New Delhi also views as a threat.
India and China fought a brief war in 1962 and have an unresolved boundary dispute in the Himalayas. New Delhi also remains wary of China’s close ties with Islamabad and bid to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean.
The Agni missile adds considerable heft to India’s nuclear capability and its aspirations to be viewed as a regional power. Only China, France, Russia the United States and Britain have long-range nuclear weapons.
Scientists said the latest missile incorporates new technology for navigation and guidance.
Indian leaders welcomed the successful test of the Agni, which means “fire” in Hindi and Sanskrit.
Congratulating the scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the “[s]uccessful test firing of Agni-V makes every Indian very proud. It will add tremendous strength to our strategic defense.”
India seeks details of working nuclear reactors from US, French firms, Indian Express By PTI 11th December 2016 NEW DELHI: India has asked American and French nuclear companies, which propose to build atomic plants in the country, to furnish details of functional reactors designed by them as proof of their efficacy.
Sources said French company EDF and US firm Westinghouse are still not ready with fully operational “reference plants”, a pre-requisite before a final General Framework Agreement could be signed with these entities.
The EDF proposes to build six nuclear European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1650 MW each in Jaitapur and Westinghouse another set of six AP1000 reactors in Kovadda in Andhra Pradesh with an individual capacity of 1000 MW.
A senior government official said designs presented by the two companies are new, so even the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) wants to see how the technology works.
“We have told them to show a reference nuclear plant, which is functional and produces electricity. On paper, the designs of these companies look nice, but we should also know whether they work well or not. This will also help in getting clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the nuclear watchdog in the country,” the official said.
India specialises in Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors while the one which foreign companies are building are Light Water Reactors (LWRs) with some distinction from one another.
Interestingly, the Russian have built Kudankulam units one and two, a VVER technology.
The EDF, which is now negotiating with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), said it had given Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant 3 as the reference plant.
The French government-owned company said the Flamanville plant with a capacity of 1630 MW should be operational by next year.
However, sources said it might take a tad longer for the plant to become operational……http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2016/dec/11/india-seeks-details-of-working-nuclear-reactors-from-us-french-firms-1547944.html
India has just built the world’s largest solar plant in record time The nation’s push for solar power is gaining steam. Scroll In Ananya Bhattacharya, qz.com At the end of November, the country turned on the world’s largest solar power plant spanning 10 km sq in Kamuthi in the state of Tamil Nadu. It packs 648 megawatts of power – nearly 100 more than California’s Topaz Solar Farm, which was previously the largest solar plant at a single location. At full capacity, the Kamuthi plant can provide enough electricity to power around 150,000 homes.
The Rs 45.5 billion solar project consists of 380,000 foundations, 2.5 million solar modules, 576 inverters, and 154 transformers, according to the Deccan Chronicle. Each day, the plant is cleaned by a robotic system that is charged by its own solar panels, Al Jazeera reported…….http://scroll.in/article/823530/india-has-just-built-the-worlds-largest-solar-plant-in-record-time
Kashmir, climate change, and nuclear war, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Zia Mian , 7 Dec 16 “……..The climate-water conflict. Along with the risks of war triggered by an escalation along the Line of Control in Kashmir or by attacks on Indian cities by Islamist militants backed by Pakistan, a new source of conflict between Pakistan and India has emerged, also centered on Kashmir. It is a struggle over access to and control over the water in the rivers that start as snow and glacial meltwater in the Himalayas and pass through Kashmir on their way to Pakistan as the Indus River Basin, ending in the Arabian Sea.
The Indus River and its tributaries are central to Pakistan’s water supply, food supply, and electricity production, and India relies on some of the same water. Under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan has control over the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab Rivers, and India manages the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi rivers until they cross into Pakistan and all merge into the Indus River. The treaty was established in part because of conflicts over water between the two countries following independence in 1947, including an Indian decision in 1948 to block some of the water flowing into Pakistan during the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir.
As water demand in both countries has grown to meet the needs of rapidly growing populations and increased agriculture and industrial use, large hydroelectric dams have been constructed, and renewed disputes are testing the Indus Waters Treaty. A 2011 United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee report assessed that “water may prove to be a source of instability in South Asia [as] new demands for the use of the river flows from irrigation and hydroelectric power are fueling tensions between India and Pakistan. A breakdown in the [Indus Water] treaty’s utility in resolving water conflicts could have serious ramifications for regional stability.” The report concluded grimly that “the United States cannot expect this region to continue to avoid ‘water wars’ in perpetuity.”………
Pakistan’s government, nationalist and militant organizations, and right-wing media frequently now present India’s construction of dams in Kashmir as a pressing national security threat and one that may call for extreme responses. An editorial in one leading urdu-language Pakistani newspaper in 2011 declared “Pakistan should convey to India that a war is possible on the issue of water and this time war will be a nuclear one.” ………http://thebulletin.org/kashmir-climate-change-and-nuclear-war10261
Kashmir, climate change, and nuclear war, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Zia Mian , 7 Dec 16 In April 2016, speaking at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, which had brought together more than 50 government leaders, President Obama described what he saw as the three major nuclear weapons challenges. Along with difficulties in achieving further nuclear arsenal reductions by the United States and Russia and the problem of North Korea, President Obama listed Pakistan and India and the need, as he put it, for “making sure that as they develop military doctrine that they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.” The White House press secretary later explained that underlying the President’s concern about South Asia was “the risk that a conventional conflict between India and Pakistan could escalate to include the use of nuclear weapons.” It is a well-founded fear and one that has become more urgent as tensions between Pakistan and India have escalated.
As part of its efforts to pressure India into giving up Kashmir, Pakistan has backed Kashmiri insurgents and used Islamist militants to launch attacks across the Line of Control. ……
Frustration in the armies on both sides has led to furious, seemingly indiscriminate firing across the Line of Control. The scale of civilian casualties has led hundreds of people to flee their homes on both sides of the line; local villagers say it seems as “if a full-blown war is going on between India and Pakistan.”
Meanwhile many Kashmiris have turned to supporting groups resisting Indian rule and been met with repression from security forces………
It is not just attacks by Pakistan-backed militants on Indian forces in Kashmir and subsequent Indian reprisals that could escalate and tip the two countries into another major war. A related trigger would be an attack on an Indian city by Islamist militant groups, along the lines of the assault on Mumbai in November 2008 that claimed hundreds of casualties and was linked to intelligence agencies in Pakistan. ………
The climate-water conflict……
From tactical weapons to massive retaliation. India anticipates that Pakistan might use nuclear weapons against Indian conventional forces during a war. The Indian Army conducted a massive military exercise in April 2016 in the Rajasthan Desert bordering Pakistan, involving tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, and 30,000 soldiers who practiced what they would do if attacked with nuclear weapons on the battlefield. An Indian Army spokesman told the media that “our policy has been always that we will never use nuclear weapons first. But if we are attacked, we need to gather ourselves and fight through it. The simulation is about doing exactly that.” This was not the first such exercise.
Indian nuclear doctrine also calls for massive retaliation directed at Pakistani cities, and Pakistan has threatened to respond in kind. In 2003, India’s cabinet declared nuclear weapons “will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere… [N]uclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.” According to Admiral Vijay Shankar, a former head of Indian strategic nuclear forces, such retaliation would involve nuclear attacks on Pakistan’s cities.
General Kidwai from Pakistan describes such Indian threats as “bluster and blunder,” since they “are not taking into account the balance of nuclear weapons of Pakistan, which hopefully not, but has the potential to go back and give the same kind of dose to the other side.” This seems an explicit suggestion of Pakistan planning to target Indian cities with nuclear weapons in retaliation of Indian nuclear attacks on Pakistani cities.
From regional war to great power war. Time is not on our side. The failure to settle the Kashmir dispute despite the passage of 70 years has already triggered three wars. While Pakistan clings grimly to its claims on Kashmir, India seems less inclined to compromise as it grows in economic and military power. Adding to this will be the inevitable pressures from climate change over the coming decades on the Himalayan glaciers, the monsoons, and ground water in the Indus Basin, which will lead to reduced and less reliable access to water in an already water-stressed region, at a time of rapidly growing demand. These drivers have already started to overlap, and conflicts over land, people, blood, and water may become one.
Once initiated, possibly even by the actions of a small militant group, a Pakistan-India conflict may well escalate into a larger war and then bring in allied outside powers, as happened in Europe in World War I.
Pakistan is building ever closer military and economic ties to China; India is becoming a strategic partner of the United States. These alliances with great powers may give policy makers in Pakistan and Indian confidence in escalating a conflict and issuing nuclear threats during a crisis. Because of the increasingly tense and militarized nature of the rivalry between China and the United States, a South Asian conflict that draws them in could escalate into a potentially far more destructive war.
Given these risks, forestalling crises and possible war in South Asia should be a priority. The long history of failures to find a path to peace for Kashmir through United Nations resolutions and bilateral Pakistan-India agreements seems to have sapped the will to try to address the dispute directly. Preventing a South Asian war from becoming nuclear war will require progress on banning the bomb. http://thebulletin.org/kashmir-climate-change-and-nuclear-war10261
Koodankulam struggle: Western nations are learning from their mistakes, India is not, The Weekend Leader, By Nityanand Jayaraman & Sundar Rajan, 30 Nov “…..In Jadugoda, Jharkhand, where India’s uranium is mined by the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd, the effects of radiation among the local adivasi population are horrendous.
Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, a national chapter of the Nobel-winning International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, recently published a health study on Jadugoda. The study found that:
• Primary sterility is more common in people residing near uranium mining operations.
• More children with congenital deformities are being born to mothers living near uranium mining operations.
• Congenital defects as a cause of death of children are higher among mothers living near uranium mines.
• Cancer as a cause of death is more common in villages surrounding uranium operations.
• Life expectancy of people living near uranium mining operations is lower than Jharkhand’s state average and lower than in villages far removed from the mines.
• All these indicators of poor health and increased vulnerability are despite the fact that the affected villages have a better economic and literacy status than reference villages….. http://www.theweekendleader.com/Causes/833/Nuking-myths.html
Empty Pockets Leave Indian Nuclear Plants Incomplete https://sputniknews.com/asia/201611231047759881-india-incomplete-nuclear-plants/ ASIA & PACIFIC 23.11.2016 India’s target to rapidly step up nuclear power capacity may be stumbling because many suppliers have not been paid. The Government is now trying to borrow from state-owned companies to complete the projects.
New Delhi : India’s ambitious nuclear power plans are facing the sword of financial uncertainty. The Indian Government has acknowledged that major equipment for two nuclear power projects was delivered on time because the suppliers had not been paid. The projects are being set up by the government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
India had changed the Atomic Energy Law this year to allow NPCIL enter into joint ventures with other government entities. “After the changes in the law, India would be able to set up a new nuclear power reactor in every four year,” says Rajiv Nayan, senior research associate, Institute of Defense and Security Analysis.
Sources say that companies like NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation and NALCO have agreed to invest $ 1,500 million each in joint ventures with NPCIL. “India will not get far even after adding this money with the amount available with NPCIL for investment. Costs and financing, therefore, complicate India’s ability to scale up nuclear power through its own means without relying on foreign imports,” writes Anirudh Mohan, Junior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation in a research paper. Currently, India is setting up 6,700-megawatt nuclear power projects across the country with an estimated cost of more than $ 18 billion. Being the sole company authorized to set up nuclear power plants, NPCIL is faced problems in generating funds for these projects.
- First, a hair-trigger alert, to ensure that the other side does not get a chance to strike first, does not have to be maintained and so forces and equipment can be in a relaxed posture; nuclear forces can be maintained in a de-mated condition waiting for orders from higher echelons to go to a higher alert status, thus ensuring that command and control stays firmly with the civilian political leadership, which is a very important aim.
- Second, since there is no first use alert requirement, the chances of reacting to a false alarm are nullified.
- Third, the onus of taking the decision to escalate to a nuclear use lies on the adversary and not on the party having an NFU doctrine.
- Fourth, a first use would result in international opprobrium and weigh heavily on a country with a first use posture.
- Fifth, a first use posture still requires a country to have survivable second strike capability as there is nothing such as a “splendid” first strike implying 100% decapitation of the adversary’s assets and leadership. And last, a NFU doctrine is cheaper to implement; for India, which has many economic targets to achieve, this is a very important factor.
As Parrikar said, India is a responsible nation; hence, India’s nuclear capability and resolve of its leadership should be the signals that convey India’s nuclear posture through its NFU doctrine. The avoidance of nuclear blackmail can be achieved by India demonstrating its readiness to accept risks that are not less than that of Pakistan. This is already happening through the element of signalling in the conventional exchanges between the two armies across the LoC in J&K. The NFU policy is just right for India as it ensures security for the nation and does not detract it from its march towards better prosperity for its people.
Manmohan Bahadur is retired Air Vice Marshal and distinguished fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/six-reasons-why-a-no-first-use-nuclear-doctrine-is-good-for-india/story-vjiXt3Fji3ka9l7PfHfP2J.html
India made no additional concessions to Japan in nuclear deal. Still-confusion over ‘termination’ clause
Vikas Swarup clarifies that India made no additional concessions. India on Thursday asserted that the termination clause in the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with Japan was nothing “new” and that New Delhi had made no additional commitments to clinch the deal other than what it had committed itself to while declaring a unilateral moratorium on testing nuclear weapons in 2008.
He also insisted that all clauses in the NCA were binding on the two parties. However, the circumstances of termination, by their very nature, are not specifiable in the NCA and a comprehensive reading of the entirety of the provision to understand the hypothetical possibilities as well as the mitigating circumstances and consequences was required, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Sawrup said. “India appreciates the special sensitivities of Japan on nuclear issues. It was felt that a note on views expressed by the Japanese side in the above context could be recorded.
Such a record, to be balanced, also needed an accurate depiction of India s position. “The ‘Note on Views and Understanding’ reiterates the commitments that India made in September 2008. No change is envisaged from those commitments and no additional commitments have been made by India,” Swarup added. He was asked about the termination clause in the Indo- Japan NCA and if India had made any exemptions while inking the deal. The NCA was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan last week.
“The NCA, in fact, has a specific article (No. 14) devoted to termination and cessation of cooperation in certain circumstances. This is not new and is similar, in fact almost identical, to the provision in the US Agreement. “Any suggestion that the termination clause in the NCA is not binding on India is factually incorrect. All clauses of the NCA are binding on both parties,” Swarup said…….http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-india-made-no-additional-commitments-to-japan-for-nuclear-deal-mea-2274393
Signature campaign against nuclear energy http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/signature-campaign-against-nuclear-energy/article9342726.ece C. JAISANKAR, 15 Nov 16 The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) on Sunday called upon the youngsters to speak up against nuclear energy.
Speaking at an awareness programme after launching the signature campaign against nuclear energy here, Suba. Udayakumar, PMANE coordinator, said that several countries including the United States, France and Japan had given up the policy of installing new nuclear plants several years ago following Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters.
They had realised the dangers of nuclear plants to humans and environment.
However, the Central government was continuing to promote nuclear energy. It has planned to set up more nuclear plants at Kudankulam without addressing the apprehensions of people. It showed that the government was not bothered to listen to the genuine grievances of people, he said.
Sundarrajan, coordinator, Poovulagin Nanbargal, said that the government had not come out with a proper plan to dispose the waste being generated from nuclear plants. It was high time to create awareness among the people on the ill effects of nuclear plants. The people, particularly youngsters, should come forward to join the movement against nuclear energy, he added.
A questionable nuclear deal, Japan Times NOV 15, 2016
In recent years, Japan has concluded a series of civilian nuclear cooperation pacts with such countries as Vietnam, Jordan and Turkey in an effort to export its nuclear power plant technology and equipment. But the latest deal with India carries different ramifications. It marks a deviation from Japan’s emphasis on the NPT regime as the international framework for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, which is already threatened by North Korea’s repeated nuclear weapons tests.
Japanese businesses involved in nuclear power meanwhile see promising markets overseas for export of their technology and equipment since the Fukushima disaster made it difficult for utilities to build new nuclear plants in Japan and the restart of idled plants remains slow. These strategic and business considerations were prioritized as Tokyo pushed for the nuclear deal, which also authorizes India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium. Japan is reported to have compromised on its earlier demand that the pact include an explicit provision that cooperation would be halted if India resumed nuclear weapons tests. …..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/11/15/editorials/questionable-nuclear-deal/#.WCtw59J97Gg
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