Monday, August 6, 2012

Who Benefits From Nuclear Power Plants In India?
By   Buddhi Kota Subbarao. Ph.D.
02 August, 2012
The rest of the world is moving towards renewable energy and away from nuclear power. But India is pouring most of its energy budget into establishing more and more nuclear power plants. It raises two compelling questions. Why is the present Union Government of India committing an enormous portion of its energy budget to imported nuclear power plants? Who benefits from these nuclear power plants?
The answers to these questions are not difficult to find. The secrecy that surrounds nuclear issues affords the Union Government to deal with vast sums of money in an easy way. Corrupt practices in the nuclear field do not get exposed as easily as in other fields. Big money and political ambitions go hand in hand. This is one part of the answer. The other part is the way the Indian nuclear establishment functions.
Indian nuclear establishment has some unique features. Pursuit is more for administrative power and less for knowledge in science and technology. Consequently, pretence to knowledge grew over the years. Accountability is conspicuous by its absence. Mediocre results and at times even nil results are proclaimed as outstanding achievements. The cleverness of the Indian nuclear establishment is from the way it can claim indigenous development and at the same time devise methods to import foreign technology.
On account of the reluctance of the national media, print and electronic, to take up investigative journalism in the nuclear field as effectively as it has been taking up in other fields, the Indian public has been deprived of a fair and full opportunity to know the true face of the Indian nuclear establishment.
As a result, Indian people are not adequately equipped to make a critical analysis of the claims of their nuclear establishment. If the establishment claims all our nuclear power plants are safe, it is believed. If the establishment declares there is no radiation pollution in and around Indian nuclear installations and power plants, it is simply believed, though it is not true in reality. Several instances can be cited which betray the make believe necessity of nuclear electricity and also the make believe nuclear safety in India. [1], [1a], [1b], [1c], [1d], [1e].
Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy Deployment
According to World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012, the growth of nuclear power is on the decline and the renewable energy development is on the rise.
Indian energy planners should take note of the vivid picture on the investment in renewable energy, as presented by the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012,
Global investment in renewable energy totalled US$260 billion in 2011, up five percent from the previous year and almost five times the 2004 amount. Considering a 50 percent unit price drop over the past year, the performance of solar photovoltaics (PV) with US$137 billion worth of new installations, an increase of 36 percent, is all the more impressive. The total cumulative investment in renewables has risen to over US$1 trillion since 2004, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, this compares to our estimate of nuclear power investment decisions of approximately $120 billion over the same time period. The rise and fall of nuclear investments is essentially due to the evolution of the Chinese program, with 40 percent of current worldwide construction. [2]

On the installed capacities of different energy sources, World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012, has recorded,
  Installed worldwide nuclear capacity decreased in the years 1998, 2006, 2009 and again in 2011, while the annual installed wind power capacity increased by 41 GW ( GW stands for gigawatt or thousand megawatt) in 2011 alone. China constitutes an accelerated version of this global pattern. Installed wind power capacity grew by a factor of 50 in the past five years to reach close to 63 GW, five times more than the installed nuclear capacity and equivalent to the French nuclear fleet. Solar capacity was ................... .....................................