Energy Security and Nuclear Deal

The whole of yesterday, I anxiously watched the proceedings of Lok Sabha. Speaker after speaker from all the political parties talked about the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. The Deal will free India for getting the supply of uranium to keep the existing and the under construction nuclear plant running to full capacity. It will open the door for India’s scientists and technocrats as well as scientific institutions in participating and collaborating with the advanced nations in cutting edge technologies of next generation. India will be free to get foreign companies supply the nuclear power plants and technologies or set up the plants. It is only after the Deal that India can set up the desired share of nuclear power plants.

Unfortunately, the debates were highly political with unnecessary contents, but hardly useful information or any inspiring suggestions. I am afraid if the members have gone through the McKinsey report- ‘Powering India: the Road to 2017’:

1. If India grows at an average rate of 8% for the next 10 years, the demand for power is likely to soar from around 120GW at present to 315-335GW by 2017.

2. India will require a generation capacity of 415-440GW-the three times the present installed capacity of about 140GW.

3. India will require an annual addition of 20-40 GW- five to ten fold of the addition, about 4GW, that India achieved in the last 10 years.

4. India power sector will need investment of about US $600 billion (Rs 24 lakh crore) – with $ 300 billion in generation, $ 110 billion in transmission, and $ 190 billion in distribution.

5. India must have manufacturing capacity for 30 GW power plant equipment and machinery or be ready to import.

6. India will also require 300,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers.

7. With inadequate coal in the country, India will have to create infrastructure capacity for 100 MMTPA of coal imports.

8. India takes 5-6 years to build a thermal power plant as against China taking 2-3 years and other countries doing that in less than four years. (It takes up to 10 years to build a Greenfield nuclear power plant).

It is unfortunate that the parliamentarians that try to keep on boasting of the India’s miracles in IT sector and the contribution of India’s scientists in nuclear field hardly mentioned about the dismal efficiency of the project executions and huge cost escalations in almost all the sectors that is holding the country behind year after year.

While participating in the debate, the politicians never mentioned of the losses that are due to political will to control it.

I wish there would have been a pre-voting quiz to decide the MPs that should be allowed to vote for a serious issue such as Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

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