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Naresh Khanna View profile
More options Sep 8, 1:35 pm

From: "Naresh Khanna"
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 16:35:11 -0400
Local: Mon, Sep 8 2008 1:35 pm
Subject: Indo-US Nuclear deal may cause India to collapse
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*This deal may cause India to collapse*

*Rajeev Srinivasan | *September 08, 2008 | 12:01 IST

There have been hosannas and hallelujahs aplenty about the fact that the
Nuclear Suppliers Group has decided to provide a waiver of sorts to India.
The fine print is yet to be deciphered, but already the usual suspects are
taking credit for having brought about 'energy security in our time.'

I am reminded of Neville Chamberlain, a British prime minister (his other
claim to fame was his ever-present umbrella) returning to the UK from a
conclave in Munich, where he had participated in appeasing Germany by giving
away the Sudetenland. Chamberlain said: 'My good friends, for the second
time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from
Germanybringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our
time... Go home
and get a nice quiet sleep.'

He said this on September 30, 1938. Alas for him, on September 1, 1939,
Germany invaded Poland, and two days later, Britain declared war on Germany.
Famous last words, indeed.

But I am being unfair to poor Chamberlain. He honestly believed that he had
achieved something for his country. Not so with the bigwigs of the UPA. It
has been abundantly clear for a very long time that the so-called nuclear
deal stinks to high heaven, and that interests wholly unrelated to India's
energy needs are driving the deal. The UPA knows what they are getting into,
and they have been lying continuously to the Indian people.

It would be unseemly for me to name names (not to mention unwise, given the
propensity of the UPA to cry 'libel' at the drop of a hat -- fortunately, a
New Jersey court just threw out a wholly frivolous case filed by overseas
acolytes of the UPA, who I do hope will get slapped with large punitive
damages), but circumstantial evidence suggests that Jaswant Singh was not
far off the mark when he talked about American 'moles' high up in the Indian

The confidential letter from the US State Department to the House Foreign
Relations Committee, as publicised by Representative Howard Berman, is
refreshingly candid about the real facts behind the deal: To use pithy
Americanisms, the Indians are being taken to the cleaners. Being sold a bill
of goods. Led to the slaughter. Being totally sold snake-oil, with the
active connivance of their leaders.

Perhaps the apt historical analogy is not Chamberlain, but the East India
Company. Or better yet, the capitulation to China over Tibet. India gave
away its substantial treaty rights in Tibet to China in return for... vague
promises of brotherhood. Here India is giving away its hard-won nuclear
deterrent, the one thing that prevents the Chinese from running totally
rampant in Asia, in return for... honeyed words from the Americans about
strategic partnership!

I exaggerate, of course. There must be more. Nehru, being naive, believed in
the *bhai-bhai* thing with China. But today's leaders are hard-boiled, and
are doing this for other, very good reasons. What these reasons are, we
shall never know, notwithstanding the Right To Information Act. The Indian
government is extremely good at obfuscation.

What is being celebrated as a Great Victory (over what I am not sure) at the
NSG is a little puzzling. I hate to be the little boy who asked about the
Emperor's new clothes, but what exactly is India getting? After all the
huffing and puffing, India has now been given the privilege of spending
enormous amounts of money -- absolute billions -- to buy nuclear fission
reactors and uranium? This is a good thing? Let us remember that the NSG was
set up in 1974 as a secret cabal to punish India for its first nuclear test.

There is an old proverb in Malayalam about spending good money to buy a dog
that then proceeds to bite you. India is now going to buy all these
dangerous fission reactors from the US and France and Japan and spend $30
billion to $40 billion to be left with the possibility of Australians and
Americans holding the Damocles' Sword of a disruptions in uranium supplies
over us? This is better than being held hostage by OPEC over fossil fuels?

And if all goes well, India will be left holding the bag for absolute
mountains of extremely dangerous and long-lived (10,000 years, say)
radioactive waste, which we will not be allowed to reprocess in case we
might extract something useful out of it. Of course all the reactors and the
radioactive waste must be making our friendly neighbourhood terrorists rub
their hands with glee in anticipation. Did I mention something about giving
someone a stick to beat you with?

I think it should be obvious by now that India has been coerced into *de
facto* accession to the NPT, the CTBT, the FMCT, and all the other
alphabet-soup treaties that were set up to keep India muzzled. America's
non-proliferation ayatollahs, barring a last-minute reprieve like the US
Congress voting down the 123 Agreement (I am tempted to chant '*Berman
saranam, Markey saranam*,' etc) have accomplished 'cap, rollback, and

The letter leaked by Berman, as well as the fact that Article 2 of the 123
Agreement explicitly states that 'national laws' (read: The Hyde Amendment,
with the clever little Barack Obama Amendment -- yes, Virginia, Obama did
get his fingers into this pie too) govern the 123 Agreement, clarify that
India is at the mercy of any US administration that sees fit to unilaterally
abrogate the thing. Remember Tarapur? There was a similar little artifice of
domestic legislation that was used to weasel out of a binding international
treaty. The 123 Agreement is really not worth the paper it's written on.

Let us note that of the other hold-outs to the NPT, nobody is putting any
pressure on Israel to sign anything, and they are getting all the fuel they
need from sugar-daddy America; and Pakistan gets everything, including their
bombs and their missiles, from their main squeeze China, while minor
sugar-daddy America beams indulgently.

The sad part is that none of this does a thing for the only issue that
matters, India's energy security. *While the rest of the world has, rightly,
looked upon the nuclear deal as a non-proliferation issue, the propaganda
experts in **India** have sold it to the gullible public as a way of gaining
energy independence. *Alas, this is not true at all.

Here are a few facts about energy. I am indebted to, among others, the
Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (STEP) in Bangalore for
this information.

Present world energy use: 15 terawatt-years per year

Potential availability of energy from different sources (in terawatt-years)
(Source: Harvard)

- Oil and Gas: 3000
- Coal: 5000
- Uranium (conventional reactors): 2000
- Uranium (breeder reactors): 2,000,000
- Solar: 30,000 (per year)

Do note that last two numbers. One, solar energy accessible *per year* far
exceeds the sum energy available from fossil fuels and uranium-fission
reactors *in toto, *that is, by exhausting them. Two, breeder reactors can
leverage thorium (turned into uranium-233) endlessly by creating more fuel
than is exhausted, but the technology will take time.

Now, take a look at the amount of energy India generates, and how it is used
up (Source: CSTEP and Lawrence Livermore Labs)

Total consumption: 5,721 billion kwh, of which:

- Lost energy: 3,257 billion kwh
- Useful energy: 2,364 billion kwh

Generation is from:

- Hydro: 84
- Wind: 5
- Solar: 0
- Nuclear: 58
- Bio-fuels: 1682
- Coal: 1852
- Natural Gas: 225
- Petroleum: 1645

Usage is by:

- Unaccounted electricity: 99
- Agriculture: 301
- Residential: 1511
- Commercial: 132
- Industrial: 1548
- Light Vehicles: 132
- Heavy Vehicles: 330
- Aircraft: 65
- Railways: 43

I believe the data is for 2005. What is startling is the enormous amount of
wasted energy: more than the amount of useful energy. Besides, unaccounted
for electricity is almost the same as the amount of energy used up by all
air and railroad traffic in India! Thus, the very first thing that can pay
huge dividends would be to get better accounting for energy use and to
reduce wastage (as for example due to traffic congestion in cities).

Consider the capital costs of various types of energy: (Source: CSTEP)

- Natural Gas: $600/kW with 4-10cents/kWh in fuel costs
- Plus cost of pipelines and LNG terminals
- Wind: $1200/kW
- Plus cost of transmission lines from windy regions
- Hydro: n/a
- Biomass: n/a
- Coal: $1135/kW and 4c/kWh in fuel costs
- With CO2 cleanup: $2601/kW and 22c/kWh in fuel costs
- Plus cost of railroads and other infrastructure
- Solar Thermal: $4000/kW
- Solar Photovoltaic: $6000/kW
- Nuclear Fission: $3000/kW and 8c/kWh in fuel costs
- Plus cost of radioactive waste disposal
- (Source: World Nuclear Association, *The Economics of Nuclear Power*

It can be seen that the cost of nuclear power is quite high, even if the
costs of waste management are discounted. In addition, there has to be a
substantial risk premium for the fact that the raw material is in short
supply and is under the control of a cartel. A 'uranium shock' can be far
more painful than the recent oil-shock, because it will simply mean the
shuttering of a lot of the expensive plants acquired at extortionate prices.

All things considered, including the impact on the environment and carbon
footprint, solar is the most sensible route for India. The capital costs for
solar will come down significantly as new thin-film technology reduces the
manufacturing cost, and conversion efficiency rises -- 40 per cent has been
accomplished in the lab. Besides, if you look at the fully loaded cost, that
is taking into account the gigantic public outlay already incurred for
fossil fuels (as an example, there is a pipeline running 20 km out to see at
Cochin Refineries so that large tankers can deliver oil without coming close
to shore), solar is currently not very overpriced.

And, of course, you cannot beat the price of fuel: free, no need to get any
certificates from the NSG, available in plenty for at least 300 days of the
year. If large solar farms are set up in a few places (they may be 10km x
10km in size, and surely this can be put up in arid areas like the Thar
desert), then solar energy is likely to be attractive. Besides, there will
be economies of scale in manufacturing once demand is seeded by subsidies
and tax breaks. Large-scale solar plants are becoming a reality: two giant
solar farms, totally 880 MW, have just been approved by Pacific Gas and
Electric in California: This is a huge step considering the largest solar
plant in the US now is just 14 MW.

In addition, there are technological breakthroughs just around the corner in
solar energy, as venture money is flowing into alternative energy. If only
India were to invest in solar research and subsidies the billions that the
UPA wants to spend on imported white elephant fission technology, India will
truly gain energy independence.

The entire nuclear deal is a red-herring and a diversion. It is a colossal
blunder; and when this is coming at such an enormous cost -- loss of the
independent nuclear deterrent and intrusive inspection of the nuclear setup,
which happy proliferator China is not subject to -- this is perhaps the
worst act any government has taken since independence.

The UPA is subjecting India to colonialism. The beneficiaries are China,
Pakistan, and the US.

This deal may well mark the tipping point that causes India to collapse:
Without a nuclear deterrent, India is a sitting duck for Chinese blackmail
including the proposed diversion of the Brahmaputra, for Pakistani-fomented
insurrections, and Bangladeshi demographic invasion. India must be the very
first large State in history that has consciously and voluntarily decided to
dismantle itself.

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