Saturday, July 9, 2016

India's Nuclear Aspirations: Limited Liability and Unlimited Risk for a Nuclear Catastrophe

The AP is reporting that India is joining the Nuclear Supplier Group, "a point of pride" indicative of "a desire to be taken seriously by some of the world's most powerful nations." The article reports that India hopes to have 1/2 of its power from nuclear by 2050:
AP. India's bid to join Nuclear Supplier Group a point of pride. The Asahi Shimbun, July 11, 2016,

NEW DELHI--India is rejoicing over news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brokered deals with U.S. officials to bring New Delhi closer to its long-held dream of joining an elite group of nations allowed to control the global trade in nuclear materials, equipment and technology… 
Analysts say joining the NSG is chiefly a matter of pride and desire to be taken seriously by some of the world's most powerful nations. Since prompting international technology sanctions and limits on exports by conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India has been eager to gain legitimacy as a nuclear power. 
"In practical terms, there is nothing extra that the NSG will give India other than a seat at the nuclear high table," said Rakesh Sood, a retired diplomat closely associated with India's nuclear negotiations over the past decade. India already has deals with more than eight countries for supplies of uranium, and has signed agreements for reactors with France, Russia and the United States.
The sticking point in making India the world's biggest market for US, Japanese and European nuclear corporations was LIABILITY.

See this report from 2015 describing Obama's efforts to resolve the nuclear liability issue so that western and Japanese corporations can sell India more deathtraps:
David J. Lynch and Angela Greiling Keane. 2015. Obama, Modi Move Closer With Nuclear Liability Breakthrough. Business Week, January 25, 2015

[excerpted] We think we came to an understanding of the liability” issue, U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma said. The deal “now opens the door for U.S. and other companies to come forward and help India develop its nuclear, non-carbon-based energy production.”

Insurance Pool

India plans to establish a 7.5 billion ($122 million) insurance pool to shield affected operators and suppliers, according to Amandeep Singh Gill, joint secretary of disarmament in the foreign ministry. The government would provide more at a later date “on a tapering basis,” he added.

It remains unclear what would happen if unlimited claims come in the wake of a disaster, according to Debasish Mishra, Mumbai-based partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu... [end]
The most recent article on India's nuclear enterprise (cited first above) describes efforts to make India alone responsible for any accidents that might occur in the future from these nuclear deathtraps:
Officials also reported progress in resolving an impasse over an Indian liability law passed in 2010 that makes builders of nuclear plants in India financially responsible for any accidents that might occur, with efforts to negotiate a multimillion-dollar insurance fund to cover any accidents. (AP "India's Bid" July 11, 2016)
Hence, all of the risk is being shifted to India and secured with a plan for "multimillion-dollar" insurance fund. However, a multi-million dollar fund is ENTIRELY INSUFFICIENT when an accident such as Fukushima occurs:
Robin Harding. March 6, 2016. Japan taxpayers foot $100bn bill for Fukushima disaster. The Financial Times,

The Fukushima nuclear disaster has cost Japanese taxpayers almost $100bn despite government claims Tokyo Electric is footing the bill, according to calculations by the Financial Times. ... the public have shouldered most of the disaster’s cost.

It highlights the difficulty of holding a private company to account for the immense expense of nuclear accidents — a concern for countries such as the UK that are building new nuclear power stations. The Financial Times used Ritsumeikan University professor Kenichi Oshima’s estimate that the disaster has cost Y13.3tn ($118bn) to date relative to the loss of equity value for Tepco shareholders.“The underlying cost is mainly being paid by the public, either through electricity bills or as tax,” said Mr Oshima.
The nuclear industry will say that another accident such as Fukushima is unlikely, discounting the statistical probability of such an accident. However, India's nuclear safety record is poor:

Ben Doherty. December 20, 2016. Harsh criticism for India's nuclear safety regime. Sydney Morning Herald,

India’s nuclear safety regime is “fraught with grave risks”, a parliamentary committee has reported, saying the country’s nuclear regulator was weak, under-resourced and “slow in adopting international benchmarks and good practices in the areas of nuclear and radiation operation”.

The bipartisan Public Accounts Committee tabled a scathing 81-page report in India’s parliament, critical of the decades-long delay in establishing an independent regulator for the nuclear-armed country.

...the parliamentary committee said India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was not an independent statutory body but rather a subordinate agency of the government. “The failure to have an autonomous and independent regulator is clearly fraught with grave risks, as brought out poignantly in the report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission,” the report said. “Although AERB maintains liaison with international nuclear organisations, it has been slow in adopting international benchmarks and good practices in the areas of nuclear and radiation operation.”

The regulator cannot set or enforce rules for radiation and nuclear safety in India, the committee found. In many cases there are no rules. Despite an order from the government in 1983, the AERB has still not developed an overarching nuclear and radiation safety policy for India. The absence of such a policy at macro level can hamper micro-level planning of radiation safety in the country,” the report said. As a result, India was not prepared for a nuclear emergency, the report found.
Although India's need for more reliable energy is without question, nuclear is not the answer, as these Indian women are arguing through the passive resistance of their bodies:


  1. In Buddhism greed, anger and ignorance are called the Three Poisons. We can see each of these conditions in the above articles. This is human nature at its worst on full display. Similar to vaccinations in the USA where the Fed gov takes responsibility for vaccination reactions including death.
    Personally I am less than sold on CO2 as the cause of anything negative; and while coal may be less than ideal it is way behind the lethality of nuclear power. Perhaps India is also thinking that it needs more nuclear bombs. Just as placing a nuclear power plant 35 miles north of the US's largest city seems lunacy, so now sprinkling India with nuclear power plants seems madness. There is no way to create a safe nuclear power plant on a planet vulnerable even to sky rocks! Any thing at all that if destroyed would contaminate large areas and kill vast numbers of people is simply a very bad idea. What is amazing is the word "unlikely" regarding a future Fukushima. Let's say before it happened it was unlikely just as Chernobyl was before it happened, but such is the nature of "unlikely" that both happened in a quarter of a century. Using their definition of unlikely I would not want to hear that I was unlikely to have a fatal car accident!

  2. And on coming to the conclusion that another Fukushima or the like were unlikely the fact that these power plants constantly pollute is being ignored. Here is a dandy article on the research that goes into environmental research: "Unsafe at Any Level? Dangerous Chemicals Everywhere. Public Health in Jeopardy. Money and Politics Undermine Scientific Risk Assessments"
    Yes, it looks like risk assessments are themselves at risk of being corrupted by greed and ignorance. So much for "unlikely". Good luck to the women of India.

  3. I reaaly like your comments here William. Strong kudos. I say stupid things at times. I feel you have a good heart. The peoples of India, Japan, China and have ancient spiritual wisdom. It is sad to see them being corrupted by the trashers of the earth. I liked a picture called Wall-e
    Seems like that is where the greed guts want the human race to go or really worse with nuclear!

  4. Elton John ''Love Song'':
    Love is what we came here for


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