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Friday, February 10, 2006

Global warming and the Indian nuclear deal

Kirit Parikh headed a group which has produced a report presenting an integrated view on Indian energy policy, looking out into the next 25 years.

There has been considerable debate on the "Nuclear Deal" where India separates out civilian from military nuclear facilities, and gets access to imports of reactors and Uranium. Generally, discussions about this subject are rooted in questions of India's choice of retaining the right to build nuclear weapons. Business Standard has an editorial today which looks at the energy dimensions of this problem. They worry about the gigantic scale of CO2 emissions that will come about as India moves forward with a primarily coal-fired energy system. As they say:

Nuclear energy is the only scalable source of energy which avoids CO2 emissions. The Parikh plan is based on the views of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Over the 1947-2030 period, the DAE is supposed to have figured out how to use our plentiful Thorium to generate essentially infinite nuclear energy. But along the way, the DAE plans insignificant nuclear generation. Nuclear energy is too important to be left to the nuclear establishment. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's nuclear deal with the US has thrown up the opportunity to get to a sound integrated energy policy. Indias best path today is to import world-class reactors of perhaps 100,000 Mw over the next decade. These should become the mainstay of the emerging private electricity generation industry. In global negotiations on CO2 emissions, India should insist on a per capita cap, which will generate huge revenues for Indian citizens from selling excess permits. Energy security can be obtained by holding a 5-10 year inventory of fuel.

Any OECD lawmaker who tries to interfere with Indian import of nuclear reactors and fuel should be given a copy of the Parikh plan, so that the consequences of India staying on the DAE trajectory can be seen. The whole world has a stake in Indian nuclear energy policy being freed from the DAE.

Elizabeth Kolbert had a marvellous three-part article in New Yorker a while ago, on global warming. It's a bit hard to find through google, so here's a text file with the content.

Update: Shekhar Gupta has an excellent big-picture piece in the Indian Express, about India's evolution on the nuclear question.

1 comment:

  1. Global warming poses much more threat to developing countries like India. Solution is not only to use nuclear energy but also to use greener technologies and form a policy about enviornment safety considering that India is in a hurry to modernise.

    Global warming, a looming threat


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