The Nuke Energy Option 

Admittedly, India's energy needs are immense. It is essential for economic growth. The PM staked his government's survival on the "1 2 3 agreement" with USA. This was hailed as epoch-making, leading to solution to our energy requirements. The Congress heir-apparent was seen making an emotional pitch in Parliament during the discussions on the Bill. He rhetorically referred to Kalavati, a poor woman, as one who would benefit from the outcomes of the Bill. The Parliament debate saw the "Cash-for-votes" conundrum. This sorry episode, one of the saddest in our Parliamentary history, was in the news as a fall out of WikiLeaks.   It is difficult to believe that the PM and his party managers were unaware of the attempt to purchase MP votes. The Government soft-pedalled on the recommendation of the JPC, which inquired into the scandal, that further investigation is to be done. Why would the US ambassador tell lies to his bosses in Washington in a cable? The US Government has not denied the cable’s contents. Whatever be the truth, the PM’s keenness to push through the Bill stands out clearly. Did the Government examine all the implications of rushing into nuclear power as the solution for the nation’s energy? Did the Government examine alternatives? If so, what were the conclusions? If not, why did the Government and the PM fail to do so, in so important a measure?


One cannot help the uneasy feeling that nuclear lobbies in USA were behind the push of the Indian Government for the deal. The PM called Bush, as India’s best friend! Bush has the distinction of being the most unpopular president, ever, in the history of the United States.


The disaster in Japan has woken the nation to the pitfalls of the nuclear energy option into which we were rushed, by the PM’s blind faith in this solution. Even now, the attempt seems to be gloss over the issues and use make statements to assuage people’s anxiety. Opposition is brewing to the plant on the Maharashtra coast. It is being dealt with through use of police force.  


Now, we have a group of eminent citizens, including a scientist, an economist and a historian asking the Government for re-examination of the option. Follow the link to the NDTV news story. It would be interesting to see the PM’s reaction. Would he, like a ventriloquist’s dummy, maintain a stoic silence, as is his usual stance, until forced to come clean?


India has immense resources in solar, wind, tidal and geo-thermal renewable energy. Would it not make sense to spend on these rather than go in for nuclear energy, which is neither cheap nor safe, unless of course, the purpose is to use the Indian taxpayer to bail out the US nuclear business?