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Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-19-2008

<b>Top Indian scientists attack United States nuclear deal</b>

* Believe accord will harm India’s commercial and military interests

NEW DELHI: Three of India’s most respected atomic scientists on Friday criticised a controversial nuclear deal with the United States, saying it would have “serious repercussions” for their country. The government says the deal, signed in 2005, will give India access to nuclear technology it needs to help meet its rapidly rising demand for energy.

Harming interests: But a joint statement issued by three scientists who have worked on India’s nuclear programme warned the deal was loaded with stipulations that could destroy the country’s commercial and military interests. The scientists – former Atomic Energy Commission chairman PK Iyengar, the ex-chief of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board A Gopalakrishnan and AN Prasad, former head of Bhabha Atomic Research Board – sent their message by fax to all lawmakers.

The statement comes days before MPs will participate in a parliamentary confidence vote, triggered following the Communist party’s withdrawal of support from the governing coalition partner because of the deal. “Once the deal is in place, it is clear that India’s commercial interactions with the US, as well as with any other countries, will be firmly controlled from Washington,” the statement said.

The scientists urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to launch “long-ranging and structured deliberations to develop a broad consensus” on the deal. They warned the agreement was a virtual minefield for India. “The deal could have other serious repercussions, including a potential weakening of India’s nuclear deterrent and an ability to protect and promote indigenous research and development efforts in nuclear technology,” they said.

The scientists said the agreement was vague on India’s quest to reprocess spent fuel for plutonium for its mushrooming fast breeder reactors.“There will be a large number of safeguards and additional protocol issues related to this, and all these hurdles will have to be crossed to reach the beginning of reprocessing,” the 10-point statement said. Part of the deal involves India allowing the UN atomic body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to subject the country’s civilian nuclear sites to international controls for the first time. afp

Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-19-2008



The Hyde Act cannot bind India and cannot interfere with the implementation of the Indo-US Nuclear deal, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram maintained today.

''When the 123 agreement is ratified by the US Congress, it will be the last expression of the legislature on the subject and will prevail over any earlier domestic law. Under Article VI(2) of the US Constitution, all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land,'' he said, delivering the convocation address at the prestigious NALSAR University here.

The Hyde Act, which is a domestic law, cannot bind India and cannot interfere with the implementation of the 123 agreement. When ratified by the US Congress, it will be a bilateral treaty between two sovereign countries,'' he said. He exhorted the new-graduates from NALSAR to help fellow citizens understand the legal aspects of the controversy.

Referring to Article 16(4) of the 123 agreement, he said, ''the agreement shall be implemented in good faith and in accordance with the principles of international law. Under customary international law as well as the Vienna Convention on Law of treaties, a party may not invoke provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.'' ''The 123 agreement has not come into force and even after it happens, India and USA will have to enter into further agreements to fulfil the objectives on industrial and commercial scale,'' he said, expressing disappointment on as to why the issues were not being raised and answered in a logical and rational manner.

''The agreement is only an enabling agreement and no more,'' he said, adding for operationalising it, both the countries had to complete pre-requirements, exchange diplomatic notes and agree upon the date on which it would come into force.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-20-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>
Signing 123 Agreement amounts to accepting American hegemony</b>

M.P. Veerendra Kumar

If the 123 Agreement is not bound by the overarching Hyde Act, then what else is its purpose? The Act envisages India formulating “a foreign policy that is congruent to that of the U.S.”

“At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom...” Thus spoke Nehru at midnight on August 14, 1947. Sixty-one years later, as India slept in the wee hours of July 9, 2008, the Congress-led government bartered away our sovereignty in the Japanese scenic town of Tôyako. On the sidelines of the G-8 summit, the repudiation of the Nehruvian principles of foreign policy found its culmination before the American President George Bush, with the brokering of the nuclear deal.

The legacy of the Congress party, which under the helmsmanship of the Mahatma delivered us from British colonial enterprise, stands traduced. Earlier, Dr. Manmohan Sigh confessed, at Oxford, to an admiration of certain aspects of colonial subjugation all of which “we still value and cherish,” and which were the result of India’s meeting the “dominant empire of the day.” Here it is pertinent to remember the recent observation of Nicholas Burns, the former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, that had Nehru been alive, such an agreement would have been inconceivable.

The ‘123 Agreement,’ so-called because it will amend Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, (titled “Cooperation With Other Nations”), which establishes a basis for cooperation as a prerequisite for nuclear agreements between the U.S. and any other country, aims at translating the India-U.S. nuclear deal into reality. The implication of the Hyde Act, signed into legislation by President Bush on Dec. 18, 2006, on the 123 Agreement has not been acknowledged by our government. If the 123 Agreement is not bound by the overarching Hyde Act, then what else is its purpose?

The Act envisages India formulating “a foreign policy that is congruent to that of the U.S., and is working with the U.S. on key foreign policy initiatives related to non-proliferation.” In addition, the U.S. President is required to annually report to Congress whether India is fully and actively participating in U.S. and international efforts to dissuade, isolate, and if necessary sanction and contain Iran if it pursues indigenous efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. These stipulations in the Act constitute an intrusion into our independent decision-making and policy matters.

Certain clauses even threaten our national sovereignty. Article 14 grants the U.S. a unilateral right to require the return by the other party of any nuclear material, equipment, non-nuclear material of components transferred under this agreement, and any fissionable materials produced through their use. The “right of return” mentions “the removal from the territory or from the control of the other Party” (Article 14.5) of this equipment and materials rather than their return. Have we publicly debated enough the nuance of this wording, which can even be interpreted as sanctioning military intervention?

The Prime Minister’s assurance that the IAEA safeguards agreement would be “India-specific,” and that we would secure assurances of uninterrupted fuel supply, and the rights to build a “strategic fuel reserve” and take “corrective measures” in case of an interruption in supplies, has also been challenged. The agreement circulated among the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency does not feature these in the main text. It occurs only in the preamble, which does not have any legal force.

Moreover, the body of the text is quite similar to the wording of the standard safeguards agreement the IAEA signs with non-nuclear weapons states. This has invited informed criticism that it fails to defend India’s strategic autonomy as a de facto nuclear weapons state, as Dr. Singh promised. The nature of the ‘corrective measures’ is also unknown. There is no explicit guarantee of uninterrupted fuel supplies — a role the IAEA cannot fulfil as it is not a fuel supplier — and is the preserve of the NSG. In the current international scenario, both these bodies are amenable to American influence. That such doubts have been raised by nuclear scientists of proven integrity like Dr. P.K. Iyengar, Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, and Dr. A.N. Prasad calls into question the claims of the government.

Beyond these diplomatic and technical affairs, to those who value democracy the most disquieting aspect is the entry of crony capitalism into the hallowed portals of our Parliament. The governments’ efforts to cobble together a simple majority to win the vote of confidence are tainted by brazen pandering to the demands of corporate interests. Invariably the agenda of corporates will be in conflict with the aspirations of the masses that have elected us. If instead of reverberating to public issues, were Parliament to be turned into an arena for the promotion of the mega-business agenda, it would be a betrayal of the ideals of the martyrs of our freedom struggle as well as of the sagacious framers of our Constitution.

It amazes the nation that the Prime Minister and his party should exhibit such reckless zeal in pursuing the 123 Agreement in the realm of foreign policy, superseding domestic dal-roti issues, to the point of staking the very survival of the government on a single throw of the nuclear dice. What could be the motivation behind taking into confidence America and not our own people and their elected representatives? On the contrary, can the sincerity and patriotism of those who suspect the government and its supporters of misleading the nation be doubted? Especially in the context of various organs of the government talking in different tongues, betraying a blatant lack of transparency. Here we have to pay tribute to our vigilant media that shamed the government into putting on their website the IAEA safeguards agreement, which till then was misleadingly termed as “classified”.

Such shenanigans in keeping in the dark even allies led to the disintegration of the UPA. Through sundering its covenant with the Left, in its unseemly haste to pitch our tent in the American camp, the Congress has reneged on one significant aspect of the National Common Minimum Programme evolved in 2004. It was eloquent in the matter of this government striving to build a multi-polar world order. Signing this agreement amounts to accepting American hegemony in the ‘unipolar moment.’

An issue that calls for debate is the very rationale of nuclear power, which is costly. Hence, we need to review nuclear power as an energy option. After devoting a substantial portion of energy allocation to the nuclear sector, a measly 3 per cent of our needs is met by this sector. Moreover, worldwide it has been proved to be a discredited mode of energy generation, given the health-risks, environment damage, potential for hazards, and waste disposal problems associated with the industry. We should not allow our country to be turned into a dump of nuclear waste.

A possible scenario could be the emergence in another 10 years of technology to unlock energy from frozen methane, which can last for tens of thousands of years. Wind power, solar power, and tidal energy are other cleaner forms of power that should be encouraged.

We should conscientiously resolve to look at this vote not as an expedient means to tide over a temporary crisis, but as one that will have a bearing on our future generations, who will be yoked to the neo-imperialist design. Our billion-plus population expects us to be led by the spirit of non-alignment in this respect. Our rage at this indecent burial should reflect their anger.

My appeal to fellow parliamentarians is that when the final hour of democratic reckoning comes, we should stand tall and summon the courage to forsake narrow political differences. The House of the People should not be degraded into a mere reporting body to ratify agreements of such epochal import. As B.P. Jeevan Reddy, former Supreme Court judge, wrote in this newspaper on August 10, 2007: “There is no such thing as a ‘prerogative power’ of the executive, immune from parliamentary scrutiny.” Were it not so tragic, we could have appreciated the delicious irony that the Hyde Act mandates that the American Congress should be in 30 days of continuous session to consider the agreement, while here we dismiss it through voting on a one-line motion debated over just two days!

(M.P. Veerendra Kumar, Member of the Lok Sabha, is the Leader of the Janata Dal (S) Parliamentary Party.)

Nuclear Thread - 3 - ramana - 07-21-2008

Pioneer, 22 July 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->10 myths about N-deal

PK Iyengar

The India-US nuclear deal is not in the national interest. It presents the very serious danger of capping our strategic programme by bringing us into the non-proliferation regime. That alone is reason enough not to go forward with the deal

In spite of the fact that the India-US nuclear deal is not in the national interest, many in the country, and in Parliament, support it because of misconceptions about the deal, which need to be clarified.

Myth 1: The nuclear deal is an agreement between India and the US for the American Government to supply nuclear fuel and reactors to India.

Contrary to common perception, the nuclear deal is not a commitment on the part of the US Government to provide us with uranium or nuclear reactors. Presently American law prohibits nuclear cooperation with India because we have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). All the nuclear deal does is to grant a 'waiver' from that law, so that American companies can now pursue nuclear trade with India. However, if India conducts a test at any time, the waiver is revoked.

Myth 2: Imported uranium and nuclear reactors will be cheap and cost-effective.

Even if the nuclear deal is made operational, the actual sale of uranium and nuclear reactors will be governed by market forces -- there are no guarantees of cheap or competitive nuclear power. To the contrary, there is every reason to believe that it will be expensive. The cost of uranium in the international market has gone up four-fold in the last few years, and will rise further with further demand. The same is true of the cost of steel and other materials used in a reactor. Manpower costs are much higher in the West. The example of the Dabhol power plant has already shown us that importing power plants from the West is not necessarily a viable option. We would do well to learn from that experience.

Myth 3: The nuclear deal will safeguard our energy security.

It is true that nuclear energy is green energy, and therefore essential for our long-term energy security. But this does not translate into the nuclear deal ensuring our energy security. Power from the nuclear reactors that we buy will definitely be more expensive than indigenous nuclear power. Further, to keep the reactors running, we will always be dependent on imported uranium, which is controlled by a cartel -- the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Therefore, the nuclear deal, by making us dependent on the cartel, will only compromise our energy security. Only our indigenous nuclear power programme can truly ensure our energy security. And in any case, for the next few decades, nuclear power will not exceed six per cent of our total electricity production.

Myth 4: Importing nuclear plants is a quick-fix solution to the present power crisis.

Nuclear technology is sensitive. Even if the nuclear deal goes through, it will take time to buy and set up new reactors. We have examples of the French reactors in China, and the Russian reactors at Kudankulam in India. It will actually take longer to set up foreign reactors compared to indigenous ones. Just the negotiations and legal formalities could take years. It will be at least eight years before we see the first power.

Myth 5: The nuclear deal does not stop India from further nuclear testing, and, therefore, does not compromise our national security.

It is very clearly stated in the 123 Agreement it will be subject to national laws, and the Hyde Act is a law of the US. Therefore, the 123 Agreement is certainly circumscribed by the Hyde Act, which very clearly states that if India tests a nuclear device, all further nuclear trade is to stop, and the nuclear materials that have already been sold to us have to be returned. No future Indian Government would dare to jeopardise such a huge investment in nuclear power by testing. So, for all practical purposes the nuclear deal caps our strategic programme -- which is precisely what the Americans intend.

Myth 6: We can pass a national law to counteract the Hyde Act, and this will protect our strategic programme.

Just as the Hyde Act is not binding on us, our laws are not binding on the US. We can certainly amend our Atomic Energy Act to enable participation of the private sector in nuclear power. But if we pass a law saying that we will retain the right to test, it will have no influence on the actions of the US. If and when we test, they can simply quote the 123 Agreement and the Hyde Act, and pull out all their nuclear materials, leaving us devastated. The only option here is to renegotiate the 123 Agreement and have the clause inserted there. However, the Americans are unlikely to agree to this, since it goes against their non-proliferation policy.

Myth 7:The nuclear deal and the safeguards agreement give India the status of a nuclear power.

While the July 18, 2005 India-US joint statement did indeed talk about India being treated as an equal by the US, neither the 123 Agreement nor the IAEA safeguards agreement has borne this out. In fact, the IAEA safeguards agreement that has been negotiated is closely based on the model agreement that IAEA has for non-nuclear weapon states. The safeguards agreements that the nuclear weapon countries have signed with the IAEA require them to put very few reactors under safeguards, and allow them to take reactors out of safeguards. India, however, will have to place most of its reactors under safeguards for perpetuity. Therefore, we are certainly not being treated as a nuclear weapons country.

Myth 8: Without the nuclear deal, we cannot get adequate uranium for our domestic nuclear programme.

The Department of Atomic Energy has always maintained that we have enough indigenous uranium for 10,000 MW of nuclear power for 30 years. We are not yet close to that number. The present mismatch in uranium availability for operating reactors is a consequence of poor planning, and inadequate prospecting and mining. There is talk of importing 40,000 MW of nuclear power, which will cost not less than $ 100 billion or Rs 4 lakh crore. If even 10 per cent of this money were to be spent on uranium mining in existing mines in Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya, on searching for new uranium deposits, and negotiating with non-NSG countries, there will be enough uranium for a robust indigenous nuclear power programme, until such time as thorium reactors take over.

Myth 9: The safeguards agreement with the IAEA guarantees fuel supplies even if India conducts a nuclear test.

The safeguards agreement only notes, in the preamble, that India's concurrence to the safeguards is linked to getting fuel supplies. However, the IAEA has no role in this matter, and certainly, no such commitment is given in the safeguards agreement. It also notes that India may take 'corrective measures' in the event of a disruption of foreign fuel supplies. It does not specify what these measures will be, it does not provide for any role for the IAEA in this, and it does not bestow legitimacy on any such measures that India may take. It may well be that any such measures that we suggest, such as importing fuel from another country, will be disallowed by the NSG. The only tangible corrective measure is for India to explore and mine more uranium, and to enhance enrichment capability to provide fuel for those reactors. The latter is subject to uncertainty.

Myth 10: The nuclear deal has no impact on our foreign policy.

The Hyde Act states clearly that it is the policy of the US to secure India's cooperation on a number of issues involving Iran, including its capability to reprocess nuclear fuel (in spite of the fact that Iran, as an NPT signatory, has the right to enrich uranium for use in light-water reactors). This has nothing to do with the deal, and can only be related to influencing our foreign policy.

It can, therefore, be seen, that the India-US nuclear deal is not in the national interest. It presents the very serious danger of capping our strategic programme. That alone is reason enough not to go forward with the deal. Additionally, it does not guarantee the energy security that we are seeking, and, in fact, may only end up making us as vulnerable to the nuclear cartel, as we are today to the oil cartel.

It is easy to see why the US wants this deal so badly. At virtually no cost, since there is no commitment towards fuel supplies, they can cap our strategic programme, bring us into the NPT net through the back door, as a non-nuclear power, keep a close eye on our nuclear activities, including R&D, through intrusive IAEA inspections, and subjugate us to the wishes of the nuclear cartel.
-- The writer is former chairman, Atomic Energy Commission.


Nuclear Thread - 3 - dhu - 07-22-2008

<b>Don’t court nuclear trouble </b>
By Brahma Chellaney (Deccan Chronicle)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Two issues stand out on the partisan battle to push through the knotty US-India nuclear deal. <b>The first is New Delhi’s agreement to place its entire civilian nuclear programme under NPT-system safeguards designed for non-nuclear-weapons states, with none of the rights the five established nuclear-weapons states have vis-à-vis the International Atomic Energy Agency. </b>India is embracing not the voluntary, token and revocable inspections the NWSs accept on a few facilities. <b>Rather, India is the first nuclear-armed state to agree to perpetual, legally immutable inspections covering its full civilian programme. </b>

Contrast this with the Prime Minister’s assurances to the Lok Sabha on July 29, 2005: "We shall undertake the same responsibilities and obligations as other advanced nuclear states like the US"; "we expect the same rights and benefits" as the US; and "India will never accept discrimination".

The second issue centres on New Delhi’s blithe readiness to import high-priced, foreign fuel-dependent reactors without securing any definite fuel-supply guarantee, or an unequivocal right to build a strategic fuel reserve to guard against a Tarapur-style cut-off, or an enforceable right to take specific corrective steps in case fuel supplies were unilaterally suspended.

Had such rights undeniably been built into the deal, India’s placing of a host of indigenous facilities under permanent external inspection, including eight power reactors, three heavy water plants and six fuel-fabrication installations, could have been somewhat justifiable.

<b>The India-IAEA "framework" safeguards accord is modelled not just on the INFCIRC/66 system, but also on the INFCIRC/153 inspections applicable to all NNWSs party to the NPT. </b>For example, the clause on "subsidiary arrangements" between India and the Agency has been picked up from the INFCIRC/153 system.

Since it was first unveiled in 1972, the NPT-system INFCIRC/153 has been strengthened and expanded, including through the Agency’s "Programme 93+2". The India-IAEA framework accord — read with the Hyde Act — meshes with key provisions of this upgraded NPT-system safeguards, now known as INFCIRC/153 (Corrected), with one major exception: <b>Unlike the "full-scope" safeguards of the INFCIRC/153 system covering all nuclear facilities and materials in a state, the IAEA inspections in India will extend only to the facilities and materials designated by New Delhi as civilian. </b>

The IAEA has fashioned three instruments to ensure not just the non-diversion of declared nuclear materials, but also to prevent undeclared nuclear activity. The Agency will have all these three instruments available against a nuclear-armed India: (i) "special inspections", also known as "challenge" inspections; (ii) the early provision of design information by the state to deter the secret building of a facility, as has been alleged in the recent case of Syria; and (iii) the Additional Protocol, which expands the IAEA’s rights of access to information and locations in a NNWS.

Special inspections and the early provision of design information are part of both the INFCIRC/66 and the INFCIRC/153 systems, while the "model" Additional Protocol, published as INFCIRC/540, has been fashioned to further strengthen the INFCIRC/153 system in NNWSs. While the shape of the Additional Protocol for India will be known only after it has been negotiated, the Hyde Act demands that it be "based on a Model Additional Protocol as set forth in IAEA information circular 540". <b>Indeed, one of the conditions the Act stipulates for the deal to win congressional ratification is presidential determination that "India and the IAEA are making substantial progress toward concluding an Additional Protocol". </b>

<b>By hastily taking the safeguards accord to the IAEA board for approval before the contours of India’s Additional Protocol have been clarified, the Prime Minister is only undermining the country’s leverage and making it more likely that the final product will be close to INFCIRC/540. </b>

<b>In fact, with the India-IAEA framework accord incorporating the standard provisions designed for NNWSs — from special inspections and the early provision of design information, to the upholding of the GOV/1621 (1973) document that enshrines the "perpetuity" and "pursuit" clauses and asserts the Agency’s overriding authority on termination matters </b>— it will be little surprise if the Additional Protocol India concludes resembles the one for NNWSs.

Such an Additional Protocol will offer the Agency the means to create civil-military "firewalls" in India and deter the transfer of specialised equipment, trained personnel, designs and operating manuals to the strategic programme. <b>With the invasive access it grants, the Additional Protocol is a much-more useful tool for the IAEA than special inspections, which have been formally invoked only twice up until now. </b>

<b>Against this background, the safeguards arrangements India is entering into are far-reaching and cannot be compared with the facility-specific agreements it currently has with the IAEA over the reactors at Kundakulam, Tarapur and Rajasthan, </b>even though the 1988 Kundakulam safeguards accord is a typical INFCIRC/66 accord. <b>The new framework accord, designed to supersede all these individual agreements, opens the path to drafting India into the NPT regime as a de facto party, without recognising its nuclear-armed status. </b>

The only deviation from a standard safeguards agreement with a NNWS found in this accord — apart from the preambular contextual noting that the necessity of safeguards application flows from India’s "understandings" with the US — is the "general principle" that the Agency’s safeguards-related work shall not "hinder or otherwise interfere with any activities involving the use by India of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components, information or technology produced, acquired or developed by India independent of this agreement for its own purposes".

Given the standardised NNWS safeguards model this agreement represents, one wonders why it took Indian negotiators nearly six months to finalise the text with the IAEA. Were the negotiations largely about preambular references to help New Delhi save face? <b>When a country with nuclear weapons, without utilising the leverage emanating from its readiness to place an array of indigenous facilities under safeguards, initials a comprehensive agreement that is a virtual replica of a standard safeguards accord for NNWSs, can it then credibly claim to have won special rights unavailable to NNWSs? </b>

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties precludes India from seeking any right not defined in the agreement just because the preambular language notes New Delhi’s point that an "essential basis" of its "concurrence to accept Agency safeguards" is the "conclusion of international cooperation arrangements creating the necessary conditions for India to obtain… reliable, uninterrupted and continuous access to fuel supplies from companies in several nations, as well as support for an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel…" Whether such purported international arrangements have been concluded or not is merely an assertion by India with no attempt to tie the Agency to them. <b>Also, by holding New Delhi to everlasting obligations, the accord leaves no room for any corrective step, even if India is faced with a fuel cut-off.
Not only are the accord’s terms stringent, with inspections to continue until "the facility is no longer usable for any nuclear activity relevant from the point of view of safeguards", such attempted withdrawal would unacceptably turn the original US-India bargain on its head.

<b>The US agreed to give India limited access to imported uranium in return for New Delhi’s decision to place 20 indigenous nuclear facilities under safeguards and to shut down by 2010 the Cirus research reactor, which produces one-third of the country’s weapons-grade plutonium. </b>

If the official claim is that the safeguards accord has been cleverly worded to help India take "unspecified sovereign actions" in a contingency, such ingenuity in fashioning ambiguities could carry serious long-term strategic costs. The equivocation indeed may be spring-loaded to produce tragedy later.

If India will not learn from its Tarapur experience, it is bound to court bigger trouble. In fact, the greater the Indian investments in imported power reactors, the greater will be the risks and constraints New Delhi will face.

The risks of misunderstandings and hard times later have been underscored by the US and Indian public stance today on some key aspects of the deal. The wide gap in the Indian and American positions would stand exposed if the US government, for example, lifted its gag order on the written answers it submitted to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on critical questions, such as whether India will be permitted to stockpile nuclear fuel.

<b>The safeguards accord shows that the deal will institutionalise India’s status in an anomalous third category — neither a NWS nor a NNWS, but an errant nation with a rudimentary arsenal to be tethered to the non-proliferation system through stringent international inspections and other fetters designed to tame its nuclear waywardness. </b><b>Civil nuclear cooperation is the lure to help retard the Indian nuclear-weapons capability while reaping billions of dollars in reactor sales, with the Hyde Act openly targeting India’s arsenal for "reduction and eventual elimination". </b><b>Once all the Indian facilities currently classified as "civilian" come permanently in the IAEA-inspection grip it would actually bring under safeguards the majority of the present "unsafeguarded" nuclear facilities in operation worldwide outside the Club of Nuclear Five. </b>

The deal poses one of the most divisive challenges India has ever faced. Whether the government survives the vote of confidence in Parliament or not, the partisan rancour will only deepen unless genuine efforts are made to bridge the divide over an issue that centres on the future of India’s nuclear programme and strategic autonomy. Thanks to the crusading zeal with which it has been pushed and the furtive way it was taken to the IAEA board, the deal will haunt India for long.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Nuclear Thread - 3 - dhu - 07-22-2008

<b>Oh tangled web: A conspiracy behind the nuclear agreement?</b>
Rajeev Srinivasan

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Naresh - 07-22-2008

<b>UPA WINS TRUST VOTE : 275-256</b>

NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday won a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha with a comfortable margin belying predictions of a close contest on a day marred by unseemly scenes over allegations of bribery.

The prime minister's motion, asking the House express its confidence in the Council of Ministers, was carried thorough with 275 votes in favour and 256 against it.

There were 10 abstentions as per the final tally. The results were announced after nearly an hour, after officials corrected the initial figures which showed 253 votes in favour of the motion 232 against and 2 abstentions in a total vote of 487.

In the din caused by BJP members demanding prime minister's resignation and shouting down his speech, Singh laid his reply to the debate on the table of the House.

As opposition members pressed for a division, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee ordered voting by electronic voting machine.

Even before the final result was announced ruling alliance members went to the prime minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to greet them on the victory in the confidence motion the first in over four years of this government.

The prime minister had sought the confidence of the house after the Left parties, which provided outside support since May 2004, withdrew it on the issue of government operationalising the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal by approaching the IAEA.

The two-day debate on the motion was often acrimonious but it took an entirely different turn after BJP members shocked the House by producing bundles of currency notes alleging bribes by the Samajwadi Party to them to abstain from voting.

Four BJP members including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were permitted to vote from the inner lobby of the house through slips on account of their ill-health.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Shambhu - 07-24-2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
<b>Let them eat nuclear bijli
The other India: Hungry. Homeless. Pauperised. Marginalised.</b>
Sonia promises nuclear energy for all!
Addressing a large public rally — hordes still turn out to gawk at her, marvelling at her high-pitched English and stilted Hindi, pallu firmly in place a la Mrs Indira Gandhi, amma to millions south of the Vindhyas — in the boondocks of Nellore last week, Congress president Sonia Gandhi made a solemn promise to the unwashed masses of India. The surge in India’s power production on account of nuclear reactors that will mushroom after the signing of the India-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, she said, will light up every home in every village. Actually, Ms Gandhi promised more than that: “Our Government has signed an international agreement that will enable more nuclear power plants to generate power. I am sure many of you are asking yourselves why this is so important. It is extremely important because as our economy grows, the demand for power would rise. We need power for our farms, hospitals, schools, factories and every home in every village.”
I am not too sure whether Ms Gandhi is right about the 123 Agreement having been signed, but given the Prime Minister’s propensity to keep secrets from the very people whose destiny he presides over, and whom he tends to mislead ever so often through word and deed, one can never say for sure what exactly is the status of the nuclear deal. That apart, Ms Gandhi’s speech at Nellore provides a clue to the Congress’s main campaign issue in the next general election, which could be held any time between early-winter and early-spring next year, depending on whether the UPA Government survives tomorrow’s confidence vote.
The aam admi, the poor, the struggling, the impoverished masses living on the edge, we can now be sure, will be told that their lives will take a turn for the better with the signing of the nuclear deal which will enable Government to supply nuclear power to one and all. Parched farms will become verdant as pumpsets energised by nuclear power will suck out water from the bowels of the Earth; classrooms in schools without teachers, blackboards and drinking water facilities (children can relieve themselves in the fields, so toilets are unnecessary) will be well lit with nuclear power bringing alive fused bulbs; production at factories will double and treble as machines powered by nuclear energy work faster than workers can cope with and managers can keep track of; and, it shall be Diwali every night in wretched villages where power is now considered a luxury and dwellers of hovels still make do with oil lamps provided they can afford kerosene sold in the black market. India won’t be shining; it will be glowing brighter than a thousand suns.
For a moment, let’s believe that I am not being facetious and that Ms Gandhi’s speech was written by someone higher in the food chain than a ‘promotee’ information officer of the PIB. Can all this be achieved by signing the 123 Agreement? Will there be such a surge in our power generation capacity? The answers to these, and other related questions, lie in basic facts that have been swamped by needless propaganda of the 1960s and 1970s variety. While the truth could have served the larger purpose of justifying the need for India to forge a strategic relationship with the US, bunkum is being resorted to to justify the Prime Minister’s strange obsession with the nuclear deal and his sly efforts to foist an iniquitous agreement on the nation. Bogus claims are being made to fool the people into believing that a bright future awaits them, never mind the subjugation of India’s strategic interests to those of America and the business interests of American firms.
So, here are some basic facts that should help realise the stupendous folly into which we are being led by a Prime Minister desperate to keep his commitment to the Americans before both he and President George Bush demit office. The share of nuclear power from existing reactors in the power produced in our country today stands at 2.8 per cent. If new reactors are set up, and if they go critical without any time overrun, then this share will increase to at best eight per cent by 2020. This is inconsequential, given the rate at which demand for power is increasing by the day. Nor will an increase in the production of nuclear power decrease our demand for, and consumption of, oil — in India, oil is not used for generating energy. In other words, the money we will spend on acquiring nuclear power reactors will not be offset by savings in our oil import bill.
Which brings us to the cost of nuclear power. At present, power from existing nuclear reactors costs, after huge subsidies, between Rs 2.70 and Rs 2.80 per kWh. The coal-fired Sasan mega power project in Madhya Pradesh will be supplying power at Rs 1.196 per unit. The real cost of power from existing nuclear reactors is around Rs 4 per unit; the cost of power produced by new reactors will be around Rs 5.50 per unit. Compare this to the real cost of power produced at thermal plants: Rs 2.50 per unit. What the UPA Government, therefore, is seeking to achieve is to permanently raise the cost of power by leaps and bounds, a cost that will have to be paid by the masses whom Ms Gandhi addressed last week.
The story does not end here. We are being told that to cushion our energy needs from the volatile oil market, we need nuclear power. That’s hogwash: Our power sector is not dependent on oil. But that’s only one reason. The other reason why this argument does not hold is that the uranium market, monopolised by a clutch of suppliers and controlled by an even smaller group of countries, is as, if not more, volatile than the oil market. The international spot price of uranium has risen at a rate faster than that of oil. A little known fact — with hindsight deliberately suppressed by the Government — should help us understand just how volatile is the uranium market. Between 2005 (when the India-US nuclear deal was first proposed) and 2007 (when the 123 Agreement was finalised), the spot price of uranium has quadrupled. According to a June 2008 market assessment, a further 58 per cent increase is expected.
There is more to the story. And this is about who gains from the nuclear deal. American and French firms dealing with nuclear reactors and starved of orders — no new reactor has been set up in the US in the last 35 years; the first new reactor in Europe is being set up in Finland after 17 years and has already run into a huge cost escalation of more than $2 billion — are hoping to revive their fortunes by entering the Indian power sector. They are expecting business worth $100 billion over the next 20 years. Since they will not be footing the bill, the Government will have to either raise money from the market or pass on the buck to hapless consumers. With a fraction of this money, a lot more thermal, hydel and gas-fuelled power plants could have been set up to supply clean and affordable power to the people at less than half the cost of nuclear power.
Yet we are being told that nuclear power will benefit the masses. It is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s suggestion that starving French peasants who couldn’t afford bread could eat cake. Or, as a biographer has pointed out, what she really meant was they could eat “crumbs from a bread pan”.

The Pioneer / leading article / July 21, 2008

Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-24-2008

<b>US Congress may not take up N-deal before year-end</b>

July 24, 2008 09:03 IST

A senior Democratic lawmaker has said that the likelihood of the Congress taking up the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal before the year-end is 'very' difficult.

"My perspective regarding likelihood of the US Congress taking up the nuclear issue again before the year-end is that as a practical matter, it will be very difficult," Jim McDermott said in a statement.

"I have closely watched the recent developments in India concerning the nuclear energy issue and the confidence vote for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and his government. But time is running out," he said.

Agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group must be obtained before the issue can reach Congress, the Congressman explained.

"The primary focus in US over the next few months will be on politics leading up to the November election in which the American people will elect a new President, vote on all 435 House Members and one-third of the US Senate.

"Congress will recess in early August for the political party conventions, return in September for only a few weeks prior to adjournment for the November election, and then return again for a few weeks after the election.

"It is hard to see how Congress will have sufficient time to act before the end of the year," the Democrat said.

Meanwhile, Co Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans in the House of Representatives, Joe Wilson, has indicated that lawmakers will be coming back for a Lame Duck session after the Presidential and Congressional elections of November 4, 2008.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-25-2008

Difficult to fix timeframe for n-deal: Pranab</b>

New Delhi (PTI): The Government on Thursday expressed the hope that India will get the support of all countries during its negotiations on the nuclear deal but noted it would be difficult to fix an exact timeframe for making the agreement a reality.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the Board of Governors of IAEA is likely to meet on August 1 to discuss the India-specific safeguards agreement but he would not like to make any premature comment on its outcome.

"Because first we shall have to get the approval of the Board of Governors of IAEA for India-specific safeguards agreement...if we get the approval in respect of India then it would be taken up by the NSG," he said.

"Exact timeframe is difficult to make but we do hope that we will get the support of the countries," he added.

Mukherjee on Wednesday said there was "no question of fast-tracking or slow-tracking" on the deal, when asked whether the confidence vote would now propel the government to steam ahead with implementation of the nuclear deal.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - ravish - 07-27-2008

Enough time has been wasted due to the hijacking of the issue by the Leftists. The people of India should learn the pitfall of a fractured mandate. They should be more careful in the future while exercising their franchise. They should ensure that the mandate is clear; it can be either to one party or formation or to another but should not consist of three dozen political outfits including one and two member outfits.

India has to move ahead at a great speed to catch up with the rest of the world powers. That requires quick decision, some may be popular some unpopular. The Government to be voted in future should have the necessary majority to carry out the responsibilities of government without any political compulsions and other limitations .In the process; I am not advocating a one party State. There should be an opposition; I would say a responsible opposition who should work as a check on the activities of the Government. This is an essential part of a Democratic setup. However, it should not function as if devoid of any responsibility. This has unfortunately been the case in the last four years.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Bodhi - 07-27-2008

welcome back Ravish.

Here are your <b>educated young people with progressive ideas</b> in action:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='color:red'>What’s IAEA? Rahul needs to know </span>

Hyderabad: The leader of the pack of young MPs who hold out hope to Indian politics was hopelessly caught out by a simple question on Saturday. Rahul Gandhi, one the nuclear deal’s chief mandarins, could not ex-pand IAEA for a student in the Andhra Pradesh capital. Surely, the Congress MP has heard of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will license the nuclear deal New Delhi and Washington hope to strike.

   When the interaction with students began at Ravindra Bharathi on Saturday, Rahul was his usual confident self. “I do not care if you lose the next election here or there. I am worried about what is going to happen tomorrow. We will go in for the nuclear deal as it will influence every sphere of the economy and section of people,” he asserted. “The deal means millions and millions of jobs and light in the houses of poor of this country.”

   But that’s where the lights went out, not in the room but from Rahul’s address. A student asked the young MP what IAEA, mentioned in newspapers and television channels every day, stood for. Rahul faltered, the words did not come. He apologised to the student for his ignorance.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

"India has to move ahead at a great speed to catch up with the rest of the world powers..."

Yaah sure. with Rahul Baba in the stead, in no time we shall.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-28-2008

<b>US conspiring to control nation's sovereignty: Sinha</b>

Ranchi (PTI): The US is conspiring to control India's sovereignty through the Indo-US nuclear deal, former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha saidon Sunday.

"The Vajpayee government had given us nuclear power and now the USA wants its keys, so it is conspiring to control India's foreign policy and its sovereignty through the nuke deal," Sinha told a news conference here.

"Advani'ji' has already stated that the BJP will renegotiate the deal when it returns to power," Sinha, who is here as part of the BJP's week-long programme to reach out to the people with its views on various issues, added.

He attacked the Left parties for rejecting a BJP proposal earlier for a special Parliamentary committee to look into the nuclear deal and recommend its suggestions to the government.
"Th Left had committed two more blunders this year -- rejecting our proposal for a special committee on the Indo-US nuclear deal and withdrawing support to the UPA when the Prime Minister was in a foreign country," Sinha said.</b>

Stating that nuclear deal had never been an issue before the country, he asked the Prime Minister as to why he did not mention in his speech during the trust vote the cost of nuclear energy.

"I have made a research and concluded that the common man has to pay Rs 15 or Rs 20 per unit on nuclear energy. Is it cost effective?" Sinha said.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - dhu - 07-28-2008

<b>Psychology behind the US-India N-deal</b>
September 5, 2007 by truthprevails

The amount of ignorance on the deal is so enormous that is recently had the likes of KPS Gill backing it. Since the left started opposing it, even nationalist Indians have started backing the deal merely for the sake of opposing the Left. The left’s problem is not with the deal because they would actually love a weakened India, but they want to preferably be weakened by the Chinese and be answerable to them and not the Americans. But at least their opposition may have the desirable effect of scuttling this one sided deal — the right result for the wrong reasons.

Those whose responsibility it is to separate the wheat from the chaff and lay at rest the fears and doubts of the people —<b> namely the GOI, actually thrives on the confusion. </b>There is yet to be any kind of a detailed statement that allays the doubts of those concerned about the issue, the kind that should come from the scientists currently in power at the AEC but they are strangely mute, either making half statements or completely silent.

Some retired scientists make some noise but their concerns are drowned out in the overall din from the downright stupid Indian English paper columnists who bat for the deal only because “Doctor” Manmohan Singh has propounded it, and are at home relating with the west in a master-slave relationship. Had this deal been from the NDA , the likes of Shekhar Gupta and N. Ram would have walked shoulder-in-arms with the Yechuris and Karats .

The comparison of this deal with China is sheer naivete because China is a recognized nuke state. China is a country which will happily sign any treaty and flout it blatantly as it did with MTCR and as it happily proliferates “WMD’s” to the Pakis and the North Koreans. China sells arms to the whole wide world. <b>Yeah, if we were willing to be even a fraction like the Chinese, I say go ahead and sign any goddamn deal.</b>

It is the “Bhadralok” factor in even the most nationalistic Indians that makes them believe that if it means dealing with the US, it ought to be great, after all isn’t the US the ground zero of freedom, innovation, invention and all those good things. In reality even a cursory scrutiny of US foreign policy reveals a policy based on a brutal disregard for human lives, terrible comprehension of local cultural values, and a penchant for dictators who provide a single point of control and are easily managed.

<b>Many of these otherwise nationalistic Indians who are for the deal also applauded the disastrous US invasion of Iraq, </b>although their own knowledge of history told them repeatedly that the real devil was their neighbor, hoping that somehow in the fine print of the war, there was a magic recipe which would devastate Islam. Nothing of that sort has happend after all, we see finally.

<b>The current dispensation in New Delhi has provided the Christian West a rare opportunity to cap, rollback and eliminate the indigeneous Indian N-program. </b>The Christian west finds it unfathomable for brown skinned pagan Hindu Indians to be playing around with dangerous things like nukes which are the rightful possession of only Whites, Jews and grudgingly perhaps the Chinese. The Christian Sonia administration has given them the rare opportunity to the snare the one nuclear puppy that has eluded them all along — the Indians.

While the Indians are busy relying on verbal calisthenics trying to make the deal look good while common sense suggests otherwise, to the Yanks its all pretty clear. They have said that we will emasculate you and also throw some breadcrumbs of electric power along the way. <b>Thats the way the Hyde Act and this 123 nautanki reads. </b><b>But the confused Indian psyche relies on its deeply ingrained Bhadralok factor and gets excited by the very prospect of embarking on a major bhai-bhai adventure with the US, </b>although the deal does not make sense on the face of it, hoping that the fine print will magically take care of it all.

The Yanks see a burgeoning potential giant acting like a lamb insisting on being led to slaughter and so calls it a “special country” and also condescendingly promises to make it a “great” country.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-29-2008

<b>SP wants Hyde Act amended</b>\<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The SP state working committee on Monday passed a political-economical resolution, which stated that though the nuclear deal was in the interest of the nation but the party has some reservations over the Hyde Act. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-29-2008

<b>No ‘unconditional’ NSG nod for India, says U.S.</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->New Delhi: Though India has made it clear that it expects the United States to deliver a “clean and unconditional exemption” for it from the export guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Washington says it is committed only to a “clean” and not “unconditional” waiver for New Delhi.

<b>The distinction has not been lost on Indian officials as they await the American draft changes to the NSG guidelines. </b>

<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

wonder what else is lost on Indian officials....

Nuclear Thread - 3 - ravish - 07-29-2008

The Nuclear Deal has been opposed by the Left for ideological reasons. They can never be seen having dealing with the United States. It is one of their political requirements for survival. The BJP has opposed the Deal because they do not want that the nuclear agenda of the nation should be hijacked by the Congress. The Nation may better wait for the BJP to return to Power; so that the party can take credit for the Civilian Nuclear Deal; the military one already been in their CV.

In the whole process, the actual conditions and limitations of the proposed deal and its likely impact on the future of India’s foreign policy or sovereign right has never been debated openly in the right sprite. Having said that, I would like to flag the point that if the deal is really anti national, as some of those who oppose the deal due to the above mentioned reasons keep on shouting; then no political formation in the country will go ahead with the same. No politician of India looks on this profession as a temporary vocation: they all aspire to have a State funeral and probably a national mourning. Therefore, it is totally incorrect to assume that a great disaster will befall on this Nation; in case the Civilian Nuclear Deal gets through.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-30-2008

Give Babus some change they will sing like canary.

Now every jokers is getting up saying amend hyde act or babus are trying cover their behind. No surprise from these traitors.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - Guest - 07-30-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Having said that, I would like to flag the point that if the deal is really anti national, as some of those who oppose the deal due to the above mentioned reasons keep on shouting; then no political formation in the country will go ahead with the same. No politician of India looks on this profession as a temporary vocation: they all aspire to have a State funeral and probably a national mourning. Therefore, it is totally incorrect to assume that a great disaster will befall on this Nation; in case the Civilian Nuclear Deal gets through.
Ya, pay bribes to MP, before voting foreign leader sending congratulation. Shameless speaker is refusing to release tape, speaker should be non-partial but hey he is commie from WB, so that should be norm. Speaker is more worried about is foreign trip, he is same idiot who was always happy kicking out BJP MP for money for question deal and idiot is happy when for n-deal vote MPs openly bribed by PM of India. What a shame? They are worse then low-life pimps. Indian politicans and current PM are whore of western countries.

Nuclear Thread - 3 - acharya - 07-30-2008

<b>US draft on NSG exemption falls short of expectations</b>
30 Jul 2008, 0045 hrs IST, Indrani Bagchi,TNN

NEW DELHI: The NSG exemption for India's nuclear deal was never going to be easy. While the US is perfectly aware about India's insistence on a no-strings-attached exemption, the draft that America has privately shown this week is far short of India's expectations, said sources. A final draft will be circulated later, but it can be accepted by India only after "lots of work", said sources, who were privy to the US document.

India has been very clear about the nature of the NSG exemption — it has to be "unconditional". It has made this clear to US president George Bush. But the US is still trying to push the envelope on non-proliferation concerns, which might make it easier to rope in more countries. India is very clear that it does not want to travel down that road.

In fact, given the circumstances, India wants the US to be a lot more realistic about the goals at NSG. While India will not be present at the NSG meeting, India wants the decision to be "implementable" — both from the recipient's (India) and suppliers' interests. That is, supplier countries would not want conditions attached when they are contemplating nuclear commerce with India, which would make it difficult as well. Therefore, conditions would certainly be resisted by large suppliers like France and Russia, said Indian sources.

Concerns remain and in large doses — particularly, if China, about which India remains deeply sceptical, uses other countries to muddy the waters, while keeping its hands clean. Pakistan has already attempted to do so at the IAEA, but has been persuaded to pull back by the US.

But while few officials expect nasty surprises to be sprung on India, the countries that worry India most are the ones that have little stake in India or nuclear commerce with India and remain wedded to non-proliferation ideals. These countries include New Zealand, which is facing elections later this year and where nuclear issues are close to the heart. Or Austria, which wants to have little to do with nuclear power.

Ultimately though, if the objectors remain only a few, they can be persuaded, said sources.

However, after literally flying to all corners of the globe, officials believe that India had reached a "satisfactory" level of comfort with most countries. Indian diplomats have adopted a pretty brutal approach, said western diplomats. With most countries, India was leveraging its bilateral relations for their nod on the nuclear deal, a sort of "with us or against us" approach. Thus, even if some countries have residual reservations on the deal, India is hoping the strength of bilateral relations will see them through.