India-U.S. civil nuclear pact likely to miss June deadline, THE HINDU,Bankruptcy of reactor maker Westinghouse clouds operationalisation of the deal.
More than two years after India and the U.S. announced that the civil nuclear deal was “done,” its actual operationalisation is in doubt over a number of developments that stretch from a “school scandal” in the Japanese parliament to the Cranberry, Pennsylvania headquarters of Westinghouse Electric, which is expected to file for bankruptcy this week.
Six reactors for A.P. According to the agreement over liability issues and the negotiations that followed former U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India in January 2015 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June 2016, the two sides had agreed to “work toward finalising the contractual arrangements by June 2017” for six reactors to be built in Andhra Pradesh by Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
When completed, this was to be the first operationalisation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal, which was announced in 2008, and proof that both sides had effectively sorted out all their issues, including over the liability that suppliers must accept in the event of an accident.
The reason for the concern is that the nuclear arrangement hinged on two major factors — the completion of the India-Japan Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA), as Toshiba and other suppliers for reactor parts are bound by Japanese laws and by the actual contract to be negotiated by the U.S.-based Westinghouse…….
When contacted, the U.S. Embassy declined to comment on how the bankruptcy issues would affect the deal. Nuclear officials said it was “likely” the June 2017 commercial contract with Westinghouse would be “delayed”, given that other financial companies, insurance companies would require clarity on the company’s future before agreeing to sign on the contract.
“The truth is the picture is very hazy at the moment,” a senior official of NPCIL said, adding that in the absence of land acquisition procedures for the other India-U.S. nuclear venture with GE-Hitachi for six 1594 MW reactors, the future of the India-U.S. nuclear deal is, for the moment, pinned to the future of Westinghouse itself. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indo-us-civil-nuclear-pact-likely-to-miss-june-deadline/article17668572.ece
This 21st century atomic potboiler is actually unfolding through the hard work of scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), whose laboratory actually shares a wall with the famous property where Raj Kapoor used to live. Here, they are working overtime to find out the real cause of the leaks at the twin reactors in southern Gujarat.
To avoid panic and further accidents, Indian nuclear watchdog Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has shut down the affected plants till the cause has been found. Nuclear experts say the pipes, made from a rare alloy, have contracted what seems like small pox, and this contagion has spread all over the critical tubes in two Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at the Kakrapar facility. To make matters worse, more than a year into the investigation, the teams of scientists can’t figure out what has gone wrong.
It was on the morning of March 11, 2016, and as fate would have it, exactly five years after the Fukushima reactors in Japan began exploding, Unit Number 1 of the 220-MW PHWR at Kakrapar developed a heavy water leak in its primary coolant channel and a plant emergency was declared at the site.
The indigenously built nuclear plant had to be shut down, but no worker was exposed and there were no radiation leaks, the Department of Atomic Energy confirmed. Operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said the reactor had shut down safely, and confirmed that safety systems had functioned normally.
The atomic thriller really begins when experts were trying to find out why a leak recognition system failed, when it should have raised an alarm. “There is a leak detection system in place in all PHWRs, but in this case it failed to detect the leak on March 11, 2016,” confirms AERB Chairman SA Bhardwaj. The watchdog body suspects the crack developed so rapidly that the electronic leak detection system just did not have the time to react.
Subsequent investigations revealed that the leak detection system was fully functioning and the operator had not shut it down to cut costs. Nothing in the core of a nuclear reactor can be done in a jiffy, and several weeks after the first leak, the initial probe using a specially designed tool revealed four big cracks in a coolant tube had led to the massive leak.
The mystery unfolds
The discovery of the crack was only the beginning of the mystery. Further efforts to find the cause established that the outside of the tube, the part not exposed to high-temperature heavy water, was corroded due to unknown causes.
This was a stunning discovery, since the outside of the failed tube was exposed only to high-temperature carbon dioxide and there had been no recorded case of a similar corrosion on the outside of any tube. It is also very hard to access this part since the space is tiny in the annulus.
The AERB then ordered that all tubes made of a special zirconium-niobium alloy be checked on the outside. To their surprise, they discovered that the contagion of the nodular corrosion, ‘small pox-like’ in layman’s parlance, was widespread in many of the 306 tubes. Similar tubes from the same batch used at other Indian reactors continued to operate without corrosion.
The needle of suspicion now pointed to carbon dioxide, a gas known to be very stable in high-radiation environments. A further post mortem revealed that Unit-2, which is twin of the affected reactor, had also been affected by a similar leak on July 1, 2015. Investigations into Unit-2’s failure were made but no conclusive result had been found. This back-to-back failure of two fully functional nuclear reactors befuddled engineers.
BARC begins probe
Undaunted, AERB ordered that the entire assembly and not just the affected tube be safely pulled out and brought to BARC, India’s foremost nuclear laboratory, for detailed failure analysis.
In addition, since India operates another 16 similar nuclear plants, a full-fledged investigation was carried out on coolant channels at all atomic power plants. The investigating team found the ‘small pox-like’ corrosion was confined only to the two units at Kakrapar.
While NPCIL heaved a sigh of relief, the finding made it all the more difficult to discern the true cause of the leaks at Kakrapar. Mr. Bhardwaj says investigators are wondering if the carbon dioxide used in Kakrapar may have been contaminated, which caused the nodular corrosion.
The source of the carbon dioxide was traced backwards, and it seems only the Kakrapar plant was sourcing its gas from a Naptha cracking unit, where it was possibly contaminated by hydrocarbons.
India exploring new sites for building nuclear projects: report, Live Mint 2 Mar 17 India has had to back out from a couple of nuclear project sites in the past because of opposition from the local population. New Delhi: India is exploring new locations, in addition to those already identified, to build nuclear power plants and meet its generation goal, a government official with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The nation has had to back out from a couple of sites in the past because of opposition from the local population and is now looking at regions, including those away from the sea, to supplement the existing list, the official said without elaborating. He asked not to be named as the plans aren’t public yet.
India’s plans to expand its nuclear generation capacity more than ten-fold have been hampered by delays in construction due to protests by the local population and suppliers’ concern over a liability law. The law, which allows for claims from companies setting up the plant, has discouraged reactor suppliers from General Electric Co. to Toshiba Corp.-controlled Westinghouse Electric Co.
Toshiba said last month unit Westinghouse’s plan to set up six reactors in India are contingent on a change in the nuclear liability law. It will no longer take up the risk of building new nuclear plants and instead specialize in supplying parts and reactor engineering, the company said following a $6.3 billion write-down.
India is awaiting an official communication from Westinghouse on its plans in the country, the government official said, declining to comment further……..http://www.livemint.com/Politics/cAl4c3eRVpruUoduidBqcO/India-said-to-explore-new-sites-for-building-nuclear-project.html
Nuclear destroyer missile launched by India in chilling warning to world, Daily Star , 2 Mar 17 INDIA has fired a nuclear destroyer missile as the nation prepares for all-out war. The low altitude interceptor was fired over the Bay of Bengal to destroy an incoming ballistic missile.
Defence officials in the country are developing a two-tier ballistic missile defence to protect against impending nuclear war.
“The complete event including the engagement and destruction was tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems using infrared imagery…..http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/592823/Nuclear-war-destroyer-missile-World-War-3-India-Pakistan-conflict
7,000 Railways Stations In India To Go Solar https://cleantechnica.com/2017/02/21/7000-railways-stations-india-go-solar/ February 21st, 2017 by Saurabh Mahapatra Almost every railway station in India will soon be fed with solar power if the plans announced in India’s latest union budget are implemented.
The Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the 7,000 railway stations across the country will be fed with solar power as per the Indian Railways mission to implement 1,000 megawatts of solar power capacity. The minister made the announcement during the union budget speech on 1 February 2017.
The minister stated that work to set up rooftop solar power systems at 300 stations has already started, and soon this number will increase to 2,000 stations. According to data released by the Minister of Railways, India had 7,137 railway stations at the end of March 2015.
These rooftop solar power systems are expected to be implemented through developer mode, wherein the project developer will sign long-term power purchase agreement with Indian Railways.
In addition to rooftop solar power systems, the Indian Railways is expected to set up large-scale projects as well. Last year, it announced plans to launch a tender for 150 megawatts (MW) of rooftop systems. Late last year, it announced a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to set up 5 gigawatts of solar power capacity.
The Indian Railways has managed to identify the solar power resource in two states so far — Gujarat and Rajasthan — where 25 MW of rooftop and 50 MW of ground-mounted capacity is to be commissioned in the first phase of the program. In the second phase, 60 MW of rooftop and 660 MW of ground-mounted capacity will be installed in nine other states. During the third phase, 400 MW of rooftop and 3,800 MW of ground-mounted capacity will be installed in the rest of the country.
Pakistan, India extend nuclear safety agreement, By Our Correspondent, Express Tribune, February 21, 2017 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral agreement on reducing the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons in a move suggesting the two rivals are still mindful of nuclear dangers despite currently strained ties.
The key agreement was extended for the next five years (2017-2022), said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday.
The agreement came into force in 2007. It was subsequently extended for a period of five years in 2012. The accord is part of the nuclear confidence building measures agreed between Pakistan and India. The aimed of the agreement is to promote a stable environment of peace and security between the two countries, reads the official handout.
“It is premised on the recognition that the nuclear dimension of the security environment of the two countries adds to their responsibility for avoidance of conflict,” the statement added.
The agreement provides for immediate exchange of information between the two countries in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, under their respective jurisdiction and control, which could create the risk of radioactive fallout, with adverse consequences for both sides, or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war…….https://tribune.com.pk/story/1334606/pakistan-india-extend-nuclear-safety-agreement/
Pakistan demands that India bring its nuclear programme under International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA)’s safeguards
‘Pakistan wants India’s entire nuclear programme under IAEA safeguards’ http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/02/07/pakistan-wants-indias-entire-nuclear-programme-under-iaea-safeguards/ February 07, 2017 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan wants India to bring its entire civilian nuclear programme under the safeguards laid out by the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA), a statement quoting Director General Disarmament at the Foreign Office Kamran Akhtar said.
Akhtar was speaking at a round-table discussion in Islamabad on Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), organised to prepare for the upcoming Conference on Disarmament (CD).
“It is incumbent on us to stand up for our own interest. We want an assurance that India’s whole three stage nuclear power programme would be under safeguards,” said Akhtar. “Pakistan will not agree to FMCT until it gets the assurance from India.”
He said negotiating a treaty that only bans future production of fissile material without taking into account the existing stockpiles would freeze “the existing asymmetries”.
The DG Disarmament was of the opinion that India has been given “discriminatory waivers”, which add to Pakistan’s security concerns.
He said that eight of the Indian reactors, its fast breeder programme and approximately five tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium were included in the safeguards of dictated by the IAEA.
The FMCT would put Pakistan at a permanent disadvantage and undermine its security interests, Akhtar added. There is a fear that the reactors not mandated by the safeguards might be used clandestinely for plutonium production and the existing stockpiles might be diverted to a military programme at a subsequent stage, the DG said.
“Pakistan should not be asked to agree to something that is not in its strategic interest. We have to factor into consideration possible actions by India that could undermine credibility of our nuclear deterrence,” he added.
Installed PV capacity rose to 77.42 gigawatts at the end of 2016, with the addition of 34.54 gigawatts over the course of the year, data from the energy agency showed.
Shandong, Xinjiang, Henan were among the provinces that saw the most capacity increase, while Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia had the greatest overall capacity at the end of last year, according to the data.
China will add more than 110 gigawatts of capacity in the 2016-2020 period, according to the NEA’s solar power development plan.
Solar plants generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of power last year, accounting for 1 percent of China’s total power generation, the NEA said.
The country aims to boost the mix of non-fossil fuel generated power to 20 percent by 2030 from 11 percent today.
China plans to plough 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Helen Popper)
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
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