PERILS OF INDIA’S QUEST FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY: IMPERATIVES OF RETHINKING By Aleena Thomas

Abstract

Energy policies have been on the agenda of international politics since 1973 and have emerged as one of the most essential factors to shape the world. Now there is a strategic shift from a fossil fuel- based world energy order to a nuclear based energy order, with focus on the developing countries. India government is also on the process to take up generation of nuclear energy in an accelerated manner. All legal instruments have been put in place for the flow of nuclear fuel and related technologies and materials. The post nuclear deal era shows the capitalist notions of India’s energy policy. The criticism emerged at the time of the deal were declined after two or three years. After the deal, India signed a number of energy engagements with several countries like France, Mongolia, Namibia, Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Australia and even Japan. Therefore, it reveals the signing of Indo-US nuclear deal has the potential to open up a Pandora’s Box of similar deals and agreements. However India’s nuclear policy and the nuclear trade get an increased momentum after the deal. This has occurred, defeating the intent of the India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act, all the liability would now be carried by the Indian side.  The government is transferring the nuclear suppliers’ liability on to itself, essentially letting providers completely off the hook for supply of any substandard or defective equipment. The lack of any liability is a perverse incentive to the suppliers to build substandard plants and risk the lives of Indian people. Recent news on accidents in nuclear plants raises doubts in this context. Even though it is advertised as a clean cheap energy, nuclear critics constantly raise issues of radiation, nuclear waste, accidents, financing, regulatory processes, industry-wide deterioration of skills, and transparency. In this context this paper tries to examine India’s quest for nuclear energy and evaluate the potential risks from it.

Keywords: Energy policy, Nuclear deal, Nuclear energy.

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