The Curious Case of Indian Nuclear Plan

Posted on April 29, 2012 in Politics

By Awanish Shahi:

India is emerging as global economic power and with is its mammoth energy needs the current energy infrastructure looks insufficient. Since India remained outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a result it was excluded from the trade in nuclear materials for almost 34 years which hampered its civil nuclear energy till 2009. When we have huge population to cater in terms of energy we need to enhance our power supply.

Our coal reserves are limited and gas supply is declining day by day, so we need to move to other non-conventional resources of power. By 2020 our per capita power consumption figure is expected to get double. As per estimates India will be able to produce only one-third of its energy requirements till 2050. Consequently Nuclear energy remains the option to meet out the huge energy demand of future.

Few years back our parliament was loudly brainstorming on an idea; it was ‘to gain US civil nuclear technology’. Apart from all controversies and issues lined up because of this issue, it depicted how India will be ahead in race of technological advancement and independency in terms of nuclear energy. The reality is bitter; we still have a long way to go in terms of nuclear energy generation and have to figure out models on how to discard of nuclear waste and for safe energy generation. Apart from Indian government’s vision about the nuclear energy sufficiency, our experts have repeatedly predicted an exactly opposite scenario. Experts think that the fast breeder nuclear plant, the core of India’s nuclear plan is expensive and dangerous. History is witness to big nuclear disaster and recently Japan was jolted by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. So, India needs to formulate a policy to restructure its nuclear energy plan to ensure safe energy generation.

Apart from other problems stated above, India is continuously facing a major threat of nuclear terrorism. India’s lukewarm approach towards nuclear terrorism for years saw a big change when our neighbouring countries jumped into increasing its nuclear arsenals. India never visualized the criticality of the nuclear terrorism until post-9/11 world saw the new terror cloud as nuclear terrorism. India has a troubled neighbour in Pakistan, which doubled its nuclear resources as compared to India with more than 100 weapons, and it now stands nearly on the verge of surpassing Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear power. Pakistan stockpile of nuclear weapons is a serious concern for India and Indian security policy makers. The old and outdated Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is now getting ineffective to confront the 21st century proliferation.

So India needs the faster and safer solution to its increasing energy requirements. To tackle this hurdle India has to develop a robust and tangible framework for nuclear energy, taking safety as major concern.