Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vested Interests in Nuclear Power: An Example


NUCLEAR ENGERY IS A GLOBAL BUSINESS WITH TRILLIONS OF PROFITS FOR MINERS, NUCLEAR ENGINEERING COMPANIES, AND PLANT OPERATORS WITH NEARLY ALL THE RISK SHIFTED TO GLOBAL PUBLICS

India finds a uranium treasure. Asia Times.
By Raja Murthy

MUMBAI - It's now a uranium treasure. Following the recent US$22 billion find of gold, diamonds and all manner of trinkets in a south Indian temple, explorers in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have found one of the world's largest deposits of uranium.

The Tummalepalle mine in the Cuddapah district was estimated in 2007 to have nearly 50,000 tonnes of uranium ore, enough to feed an 8,000 megawatt nuclear power plant until year 2047. [1] Explorers at the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, India's official uranium hunters, now estimate the region could provide three times as much - or about 150,000 tonnes of uranium ore.

The uranium mega-find was disclosed on July 18 by Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee, when inaugurating the second pair of 700-megawatt indigenously built nuclear reactors in Rawatbhata town in Rajasthan, northwestern India. The find matches the world's existing single-largest source of uranium, Australia's McArthur River mine.

....India, one of 31 countries with nuclear-powered electricity, gets less than 3% of its energy from nuclear plants. The country has 27 of the world's 450 nuclear reactors that in total generate approximately 350 gigawatts (1 gigawatt = 1,000 megawatts), or about 16% of the world's electricity. [2].


India plans to nearly double its current capacity of 4.7 GW to 7.3 GW by March 2012, and triple nuclear-sourced energy by 2020 - still only half of China's planned capacity of 40 GW by 2020, and only a small part of India's electricity needs.

...United States nuclear reactor equipment companies such as General Electric-Hitachi and Westinghouse were expected to earn billions from India through contracts for nuclear power plants following the agreement, which then-US president George W Bush strongly pushed as one of the "highlights" of his presidency. It was also the deal that nearly brought down Manmohan Singh's government in 2008 over nationwide opposition.

But riches from India's nuclear expansion riches have not yet flowed the US way; one hindrance is clause 17(b) in India's Civil Nuclear Liability Bill of 2010. The legislation makes suppliers of reactors liable for 80 years for any industrial accident, both to the Indian government and private litigators.

That's okay for state-run nuclear reactor builders in France and Russia backed with taxpayer money, but not for privately owned firms in the US. So French companies like Areva and Russia's Rosatom, rather than their US counterparts, are securing chunks of the $150 billion India is spending on developing its nuclear power industry....










No comments:

Post a Comment