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Feeding the Right Wolf

Bridging Partition: People's Initiatives for Peace between India and Pakistan edited by Smitu Kothari and Zia Mian with Kamla Bhasin, A H Nayyar and Mohammad Tahseen (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan), 2010; pp 360, Rs 495.

The Other Side of Nuclear Liability

The draft nuclear liability bill indemnifies the supplier of a nuclear plant and caps the liability of the operator in the event of an accident. The indemnity for suppliers is meant to please multinational plant vendors who wish to be free of liability even for accidents that result from a design flaw. The cap on operator liability is far lower than the potential damage that a nuclear accident could cause. This clause is designed to facilitate the entry of domestic big business into the nuclear market by ensuring that domestic operators will not be held responsible in the eventuality of damage following an accident. Hence the bill transfers risks for a nuclear mishap onto the people at large. Furthermore, it offers almost no financial disincentive for unsafe behaviour on part of the operators and suppliers of nuclear plants.

Safety First? Kaiga and Other Nuclear Stories

The November 2009 exposure of employees at the Kaiga nuclear power plant to tritiated water is not the first instance of high radiation exposures to workers. Over the years, many nuclear reactors and other facilities associated with the nuclear fuel cycle operated by the Department of Atomic Energy have had accidents of varying severity. Many of these are a result of repeated inattention to good safety practices, often due to lapses by management. Therefore, the fact that catastrophic radioactive releases have not occurred is not by itself a source of comfort. To understand whether the dae's facilities are safe, it is therefore necessary to take a closer look at their operations. The description and discussion in this paper of some accidents and organisational practices offer a glimpse of the lack of priority given to nuclear safety by the dae. The evidence presented here suggests that the organisation does not yet have the capacity to safely manage India's nuclear facilities.

Violating Letter and Spirit: Environmental Clearances for Koodankulam Reactors

The environmental clearance offered to the Koodankulam reactors in Tamil Nadu is not based upon a careful examination of all the potential impacts on the environment and livelihoods nor does it incorporate public concerns.

Going MAD: Ten Years of the Bomb in South Asia

India and Pakistan have been talking peace since 2003, yet they have continued to expand their nuclear arsenals. This suggests a failure both of imagination and of political will to seriously engage with the nuclear danger. The peace process does not seem to recognise the fact that since the two countries conducted their nuclear tests in 1998 there has been a war and a major military crisis, both prominently featuring nuclear threats. Nuclear denial in south Asia is not a symptom of inattention, or passivity in the face of an overwhelming problem. It is deliberate blindness to the contradiction between word and deed. India and Pakistan talk of peace while pouring scarce resources into developing their nuclear arsenals, the infrastructure for producing and using them, and doctrines aimed at fighting a nuclear war.

Uranium Mining in Meghalaya: Simmering Problem

There is intense opposition to the uranium mining project in the West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. Yet the state government and central institutions in charge of nuclear energy are intent upon continuing with the project.

Masks of Empire: Ideas Have Consequences

Ideas Have Consequences M V Ramana On October 1 of this year, speaking at the council on foreign relations, New York, Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said,

Heavy Subsidies in Heavy Water: Economics of Nuclear Power in India

Little is publicly known about the efficiency and economics of heavy water production at the Department of Atomic Energy's facilities. We estimate the cost of producing heavy water at the Manuguru plant by analysing the available budget figures and assuming reasonable values for other factors that affect the cost and whose values are not publicly available. Our results suggest that the production costs significantly exceed the price charged under even extremely favourable and unrealistic assumptions. Nuclear power, therefore, is being subsidised through the provision of cheap heavy water.

Economics of Nuclear Power: Subsidies and Competitiveness

Economics of Nuclear Power: Subsidies and Competitiveness M V RAMANA In his response Ramana et al (2005), Sudhinder Thakur argues (December 3, 2005) that some of the inputs used in our paper are wrong and that if

High Costs, Questionable Benefits of Reprocessing

The department of atomic energy's claim that "economic considerations dictated the need for spent fuel reprocessing in India" is questionable since reprocessing is far more expensive as a waste management strategy than the common alternative of direct disposal in geological repositories. This is unlikely to change even under the assumption that the plutonium extracted has some economic value when used to fuel breeder reactors to generate electricity.

Twenty Years after Chernobyl

A vast amount of literature has been generated on the Chernobyl accident in April 1986. What lessons can we draw from the causes and sequences of the accident, the health and environmental consequences and what implications does the accident have for nuclear reactor safety and the future of atomic energy?

Tall Claim, Little Evidence

Tall Claim, Little Evidence Fearful Symmetry: India-Pakistan Crises in the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons by Sumit Ganguly and Devin Hagerty; Oxford University Press, New Delhi,

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