Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics & Nuclear Deal

Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, ruler of Delhi from 1325 to 1351, is known for changing his capital to Daulatabad from Delhi just because he believed that capital should be at the center of the kingdom. He not only moved government offices to Daulatabad, which was at a distance of 700 kms from Delhi, but also forcibly moved the entire population.  But due to inadequate water supply, the plan failed and the capital had to be shifted back again to Delhi.

The crusade of Manmohan Singh Government for the Indo-US Nuclear deal can lead us to a similar situation.  The modern day Tughlaqs need to be contained before it gets too late. Let us have a look at some of the Tughlaqi logic (lies) given to justify the nuclear deal:

 Myth 1 : Nuclear Energy will provide energy security.

Nothing can be farther from truth. Over dependence on nuclear energy will actually lead to energy insecurity. We will have to import Uranium, technology and reactors from countries like US, Russia, France, Australia etc. We will be dependent on other countries for energy despite the fact that we have coal reserves which can last for more than 100 years.

Myth 2 : Nuclear Energy is one of the cheapest options available.

Again, a false propaganda. The report of the Working Group on Power, which was set up by the Govt to make a case in favour of nuclear energy places the cost at Rs 4 crore per megawatt for coal based projects; Rs 3 crore per megawatt for gas based projects; Rs 4.50 crore to Rs 5 crore per megawatt for run-of-the-river hydro projects; Rs 5.50 crore to Rs 6 crore for storage hydro projects. And for nuclear power projects? Rs 6.50 crore per megawatt. Turns out, nuclear energy is the costliest option !!

Myth 3: Nuclear Energy is one of the cleanest source of energy.

Actually, a minor accident can totally clean the surroundings of a nuclear reactor (pun intended). Chernobyl accident is a perfect example. Besides Nuclear Wastes will remain a constant threat to environment. Nuclear Energy is anything but clean. In US alone there have been 51 Nuclear outages in the last 41 years. In future, Nuclear Energy is expected to increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions, as high grade Uranium is getting depleted. Even the current nuclear reactors in India and several other parts of world are vulnerable to deterioration of feeder pipes.

Myth 4: Signing the Nuclear Deal would not affect our Nuclear Sovereignty

If sovereignty means independence in taking our own decision then by signing the deal in its current from, we would be severely compromising with it. Once the deal is signed, we would not be free to do any nuclear test under any circumstances if we want fuel supplies for the nuclear reactor to be unhindered. Despite the fact that there are enough provisions in the 123 agreement and Hyde act which allow US to stop all supplies in the event of a nuclear test by India, the Government wants us to believe that US would not exercise this option for the sake of Indo-US relations!!!

Now this fairy tale would have been believable only if in 1978 US had not stopped fuel supplies to Tarapur Nuclear Reactor despite the fact that India had not violated the 123 agreement signed in 1963 !!! US wanted India to sign NPT and hence they changed their domestic law in 1978 which superseded the agreement signed with India in 1963. The 123 agreement signed in 1963 was better for India than the current 123 agreement but still that could not stop US from halting fuel supplies in 1978. This time if they want to stop fuel supplies, they wouldn’t have to amend any law as there are enough provisions in Hyde Act and 123 agreement to do so but still the Govt feels we need not worry as US will not do something like this with India.

This blind infatuation is reminiscent of Nehru’s policy towards China which was guided more by emotions than realpolitik. Looks like after the debacle of Nehru’s Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai in 1962, its time to sing Hindi Yankee Bhai Bhai !!!

Myth 5: If the deal is not signed in George Bush’s tenure, it would not be signed at all.

Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Mc Cain, the front runners in the US Presidential elections have expressed their support to the Nuclear Deal. They have a different opinion on every other issue like Healthcare, Iraq War, Foreign Relations, Outsourcing etc but on the Nuclear deal there is a rare unanimity. There is no reason to believe that a new US President would not support the deal. Any US President would love this deal in which US has nothing to loose and the deal will actually  benefit the nuclear industry in US.

Even the US Senate had passed the deal with a big majority of 85-12 with huge support from both the Republicans and Democrats. There is no reason to believe that this huge support for the deal in the US Parliament is going to change. If at all the deal is facing any serious opposition, it is from the opposition parties in India. Actually, the deal is in serious trouble if it is not passed in the tenure of the current Indian Govt. and there is a change of guard in the central Govt. as the opposition parties have left no doubt that they are against the deal.

Some other facts to ponder with:

  • US, which is so keen to help India in attaining energy security through Nuclear energy, has not produced a single nuclear reactor in last 30 years !! Now if Nuclear energy is so good why has the US not increased the production of Nuclear Energy despite rising oil prices and a growing energy crisis ? 
  •  Australia, which has 24% of total Uranium reserves of the world, does not have a single Nuclear reactor !! It exports all its uranium to countries producing nuclear energy. Now Australia is not some African country which is being exploited for its Uranium reserves. It is a developed country which will not face the problem of raw material once it decides to make nuclear energy. But still it has no plans yet to do so and recent news suggest it is very keen to sell Uranium to India, once the deal with US goes through and of course we are supposed to be happy and grateful to US and Australia for doing us this favour !!

Why is there a strong approval for the deal in the Indian Middle Class?

Manmohan Singh has compromised on several issues since he has been the Prime Minister of India, for the sake of stability of his Government. It is an open secret that on issues like Reservation, FDI in Retail & Insurance and on many other policies he had to bend under pressure from his allies. The reformist Finance Minister of 1991 has not initiated any new financial reform after he became Prime Minister because of the lack of support from his political master and stiff opposition from his allies. But the only time when we have heard him speaking his mind is on the Nuclear Deal. He once even dared CPI-M to withdraw support on this issue. This I believe is the main reason why there is a general approval for the Nuclear Deal in the Indian Middle Class.

When we see that our PM who has been altering his policies under pressure has taken a firm stand on Nuclear Deal, we feel that the deal should be really very good to India or else why would the PM risk the survival of his Govt? And this is not just the reasoning of common people. Even Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi have accepted that they are not aware of the details of the detail but have full faith in our PM and hence they support the Nuclear Deal. Now it is one thing for common people to believe their leaders blindly but isn’t the fourth estate supposed to be objective ? And this lack of objectivity in the coverage of nuclear deal by the media has given a totally wrong picture to the Indian masses.

We are also told that this deal is very important for Indo-US relations and if the deal fails,  our relations will spoil. Never before in the history of an independent country, a deal was made a cornerstone of bilateral relations. I believe we need to have some confidence in us to believe that we need not be subjugated to such a biased agreement just for “betterment” of ties with a country. It does not really speak well for a rising superpower like India.

Let us not outsource our objectivity to Media and believe something blindly. It is not very difficult to analyze the facts about Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Deal to find the truth. The decission that India takes now will have a huge impact on its Energy Security, Environment, National Security and Sovereignity and any wrong move will not only affect the current generation but our future generations as well.

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19 thoughts on “Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics & Nuclear Deal

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

  2. Very informative one…to an extent being a part of common man even i thouht that such a thing was necessary for the development of india..bt reading through the same tells me that the whole picture id different…

    Great going mate…so just singggggg!!!hehehe (kidding!!)

  3. hey first of all …..very nice blog
    informative………good enough research has been done by you…….
    well US is known for its selfishness….agree that US is not supporting for social cause…
    its their benefit….
    it want to use India to counter china….
    but then look at its positive sides….
    and thats where we should make chance pe dance…
    US needs India more than India need USA….
    so take advantage of it without compromising on our interest….
    offcourse we need smart people up there to get it!!!!

  4. @ Tim, All Talk and No Action and Prabhdeep
    Thanks for your comments 🙂

    @ Sandeep
    Even I believe we should have very good relations with US but that does not mean we sign this one sided deal. There are many other ways to improve relations with US.

  5. @Indiaunbound –

    The amount of research you have done is commendable.
    I am wondering, can all our scientists, bureaucrats and the general intelligentsia be sooo wrong and suffer from such over sight?
    I am sure there is lots of material available on the web and in official reports and research. How come none of these learned men came across these reports?
    Also, now that you have accumulated so much info on the subject, maybe you should write to the PMO or places like BARC and try convincing them/drilling some sense into them…

  6. @ all talk and no action
    Well, not all of them suffer from oversight. Some of them have been writing about this deal and why it is not good for India. But the editorial policy of most of widely read newspapers like ToI, HT, Indian Express is pro deal and so what security experts like Brahma Chellaney or foreign policy experts like G Parthasarthy write in opinion pages of these newspapers makes little difference as most of the other articles are pro deal and the Great Indian Middle Class is too much in love with US to think about the deal objectively. In my previous post I had written about MJ Akbar and what happened with him when he and his newspaper were exposing the Govt on the deal and other issues.

    As far as writing to the PMO is concerned, our former deputy PM L K Advani and former Cabinet minister Arun Shourie have been trying their best to drive some sense in the Govt through debates in the Lok Sabha. If these people have not suceeded, I dont think I stand a chance 🙂

    BARC, a Govt dept, initially opposed the deal but now has been co opted. I think they know more than me that the deal is not good as they said this long back but then were forced to change track by the Govt.

    As I have mentioned in my post, it is not very difficult to analyse this issue and so let us not outsource our thought process to Media, Bureaucrats and “Intelligentsia”.

  7. @IndiaUnbound –
    Though I have not had any chance to research and form an opinion on this subject, I must admit that your points seem logical. Its forced me to sit up and take notice of this burning issue.

  8. whatever u were saying since last 1 year… u framed it so well…
    Manmohan kya pagla gaya kya?…
    Now, i agree with u…

  9. Hi there

    Please consider my concise reply to your propaganda.

    Truth 1 : Nuclear energy will provide energy security

    India has 36% of the Thorium reserves in the world, making it something like the Saudi Arabia of Nuclear. Indian scientists have unveiled designs of Automatic Thorium Breeder Reactor (ATBR) in 2005 which requires no manual supervision and is hailed as the safest reactor design in the world.

    India however needs to have Plutonium to kickstart the Thorium process, and this is not easy to obtain. We can have sufficient plutonium if we could generate about 50,000 MW of power using Uranium based Light Water Reactors (LWR). This requires us to import Uranium for the next decade or so. This is why we need help and acceptance from US, Australia, France and Russia.

    Truth 2 : Nuclear Energy is one of the cheapest options available in the future

    Currently, nuclear power remains expensive. But as energy supplies get tight in the future, we cannot rely on fossil fuels. Hydro electricity will increasingly come under the scanner due to inundation of cultivable land and erosion of river beds. India doesn’t have large swathes of land for massive solar / solar-derived projects, though solar energy will be a valuable component in energy security.

    Adding up all the costs, nuclear energy would be the cheapest option in the future. The only problem would be capital costs. This will come down due to standardization of design and floating-construction-plants.

    You aren’t convinced about why nuclear would be the cheapest energy source ?
    e = mc^2.. That’s why.

    Nuclear Energy is one of the cleanest source of energy.

    Nuclear energy is the only energy source which accounts for all its waste products. The generated nuclear-waste is 100% captured and accounted for. They are stored in thick metal cases deep under the rocks. The carbon-waste on the other hand is spewed directly into our thin atmosphere.

    Uranium/Thorium mining in the future would directly use nuclear-generated energy. Fossil-fuel energy will die a quick death.

    I am not concerned about your myth-4 and myth-5. The Indo-US nuclear deal is already a lost hope. Largely, thanks to you guys.

    But inevitably in the future, US and the rest of the developed world will be forced to cooperate with India on nuclear power. Because, we would threaten to burn coal and ruin all the good work they put in on cutting greenhouse emissions. The world will just sit up and talk sense. Primarily, Australia will start to wonder why the heck it is restricting Uranium exports to a country which already has nuclear bombs.

    A quick rejoinder : Why do US and Australia not use nuclear power ?

    Guess which are the countries that are fighting for oil in Iraq ?Now you understand. US and Australia decided to pick up the low hanging fruit, that is continue sucking up world’s oil reserves as long as they last. France, which doesn’t have the same geopolitical clout as the US does, generates 80% of its electricity through nuclear.

    Japan, the only victim of nuclear bombs, is investing heavily in nuclear research. Their scientists have recently developed a method for mining Uranium out of sea water, thereby, ensuring that the world’s uranium supplies will last for several million years.

    There you go.

  10. Indeed it’s true that the UPA government was a total failure on many fronts. But when Mr. Manmohan Singh the reformist says that deal is in the best interest of the nation, one should keeping aside their political affiliations and should think of pros and cons for India of the future.

    With present power crisis looming in India, Nuclear energy is definitely the future reliable source. After hundred years coal and other fossil fuels will disappear. Hydro power depends heavily on the Monsoons. The Global warming has already has its effect on Monsoon which is evident from the unusual pattern of it in recent years.

    May be it’s high time we introspect about the future of India keeping in mind vast majority of poor people who are time and again excluded from the development process. Energy is an essential ingredient for the empowerment of those destitute.

    Manmohan SIngh may be failure as a politician n PM but his one point agenda of Nuclear Deal is certainly in the interest of the nation.

    You have written a nice article but it is biased.

    Keep Going. All the best.

  11. So most of us Indians are against the nuclear deal because we can not conduct atomic test at will??? Wow…Does any one has idea how much it would cost India or Pakistan to maintain atomic bomb. We rather spend money on fancy toys that try to uplift the poor…We don’t need to prove to the world we have nukes…they know it already. People look what happened when the oil hit $140 – $144…The future of a country will be measured in food and energy securities from now. Make no mistake about it. No one is asking the right questions…how much did India invest on renewable energy sources? nada

  12. Pingback: The Lies Continue…. « India Unbound

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