Monday, September 08, 2008

Politics for Power on Power

As expected the Opposition has continued to cry foul on the Nuclear Deal notwithstanding the 45 nation Nuclear Supply Group has given a green signal for nuclear trade with India. The main point for the Opposition is that India cannot conduct nuclear tests in future. But no one clarifies why there is a necessity for us to conduct tests in future, when we have already conducted two in the past and world wide a self moratorium on tests is on. The nuclear bomb technology is so perfected that more tests are simply not needed. This is nothing but politics for power on nuclear power.
India is in dire need of electricity and is currently has a shortfall of one lakh Mega Watts, almost 10% of the entire production. If the country has to grow at the current rate of 8 to 9 % year on year, experts estimate that it needs an additional million MW by 2020. And we have run out of options. Chances of increasing the hydel power are slim due to large scale submersion of fertile lands, displacement of people, and stiff opposition from environmental activists. Our coal reserves last just for another 50 years and most importantly coal based thermal power plants pollute. The carbon emissions from the coal based power plants are high. Currently, every new plant that is coming up is dependent on imported coal, a drain on the forex reserves. We have very few natural gas reserves and in Andhra Pradesh, 4 gas based power plants have not yet been commissioned for want of gas linkage even after a decade. The wind and solar power have its own limitations. We have no option except to go for nuclear power. The current Prime Minister had the courage to look beyond his term, into the future needs of this country. Bravo!
The USA gets 25% of its power from nuclear power plants. The French gets 80% of their electricity through nuclear. India gets just a meager 3% from its nuclear plants.
With a growing economy, a population explosion, increasing energy demand, limited availability of conventional sources, and a strong consensus for environmental protection, India is harnessing energy ranging from jatropha biodiesel to atomic power. This is the only country in the World to have a separate ministry for non-conventional energy sources.
Efficient, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy supplied to each household at the least possible cost is a dream of Indian government. While successive Central governments have been seeking energy security by 2012 for India, the current government went further to prescribe “Energy Independence” by 2030.
Though commercial primary energy consumption in India has grown by about 700 percent in the last four decades, India’s present level of energy consumption, by world standards, remains very low. The current per capita commercial primary energy consumption in India is about 350 Kilograms of Oil Equivalents per year (kgeo/yr) which is well below that of world average of 1,690 kgeo/yr. By 2010 per capita energy consumption is expected to increase around 450 kgoe/yr. Compared to this, the energy consumption in China is 1,200 kgeo/yr, Japan is over 4,050 kgeo/yr, South Korea is 4,275 kgeo/yr, and the US is 7,850.
We have a long way to go. And nuclear power is the only way.

There are 15 nuclear power reactors in operation in India. Most of them are operating at 30 to 40% of their capacity for lack of fuel. In addition eight more nuclear power reactors are currently under construction, and another 8 mega plants on the drawing board. We need equipment, fuel and other related things urgently. The urgency the government is showing to clinch the deal with the US and NSG is commendable.

Contrary to misconceptions, Nuclear energy is a clean energy with no emissions except water vapor. Nuclear technology has vastly improved over the years and another Chernobyl is not a distant reality. The nuclear waste that is generated over the years can easily be stored, buried deep in the desert. When we can conduct actual nuclear bomb tests deep down in the desert, we can easily store a few hundred drums of nuclear waste in the desert.

This government, especially the far sighted Prime Minister deserves kudos and the opposition all the boos.


Anonymous said...

Good blog Ramana garu. I was just looking for this simple analysis of the issue with the relevant facts. With 5 min of reading I got that. Thank you very much.

Best Regards

Srinivasu Satti

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Sir. I recently asked one of the managers in Gati as to how their business is, he replied they are into power generation and already set up plants in the north. Anyway, I must get into blogchain.
Have a good day!
Vijay Prasad