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Nuclear power at the nucleus Gay abandon in pricing Roaring Ro-Ro facility The sea- saw battle continues... Solar, solar everywhere … TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Editor's Says Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Readers' Mail Tribute Silver Years of Madras Musings S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Where is Rajaji? For whom the MIDS bell tolls? to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! TIAM turns a full cycle When Ratan Tata visited SRM GM Technology at last! The rise and rise of KCP A yen for wastage… Tatas moving out of urea production... Tax agriculture Tatas moving out of urea production... The why of tax incentives Adharma of opposition politics Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Noble nonagenarians... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Kudos to NDTV... Recognition to role of NBFCs.... More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Put expensive assets created to use... An enemy’s enemy is a friend Should we change the official year? TGS- The king storyteller …and of a popular trade leader B H Kothari - a tribute When online building permits work…. Moily’s bold thrust Quality education through the PPP mode Tribute – M V Murugappan Five star activism stalls development activity Building loyalty through the stomach When nations steal growth from one another… Telangana in top gear… The few handicaps... Modi storms Silicon Valley Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra A friendly business group A think tank for Chennai TELANGANA at last…BUT A welcome initiative by the judiciary Convulsions in The Hindu Delhi is distant A glass full of corruption IPL type auction for VCs? He saved millions from starvation... All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Fortune for Indian Airlines He continues the focus on social amelioration Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Parliament in paralysis... Small units prefers to remain small... No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways The power-full Hindujas When the President was rendered homeless… Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Robber barons everywhere Russi Mody – a tribute Which side are you, Montek? Multi-faceted Venkat The balancing act EVM is tamper-proof Road development slows down The Jan Dhan bonanza L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara China invests in India Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu More heat than light Maximising the micro pricing … CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Intellectual of rare qualities A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Plummeting profits of PSBs London, London Narayan Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Demise of a media baron... Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Tough task taking states together Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL The Gulf aviation boom Waning interest in public discussions… A professional at the helm of IRDA... Towards speedy justice Mersal magnified Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Delhi returns to BJP The rise and fall of Annamalai University Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Things happen by accident and not by design... TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Why land prices zoom in TN? Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Fuel for thought Breaththrough in malaria control Welcome focus on core competence Delhi is distant… Revive development banks... Shipping woes of Chennai companies Pharma – overdose of copying Streamlining mandatory third party cover For whom the bell tolls? Where a state respects its litterateurs… WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Modi and the lady More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Haul over the coal Music happens TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector West Bengal: mindless malignancy The star of Spencers is no more Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Vibrant Gujarat Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Mu Sigma – is no more Banning booze... Sri Lanka votes for change Solar thermal shines… An inexplicable neglect Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Making ‘my Amaravati’... Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Boy, can you beat these? The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Contrarian cousins IPL - no surprise this scam The nuclear option No Maha Koottani in TN... How Air-India loses customs... Kinetic Karnataka Build close rapport with business leaders EEC at the National Media Centre Valli, they are more marginalised Wise Presidents Gas is the way forward Shanti and Sadhana through Music Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Protest masters... Computation of GDP – conundrums continue S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai IAS invades NDDB... Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research CII projects higher growth… Airlines in India: cost and space Preserving for the future Medical costs hit the roof... Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria A more liberated TN… Paytm karo... The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Fortune 500 review The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Poor quality of university VCs Tribute – UCAL Selvan… When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Funding the un-funded PC’s preference for professionals F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Marketing expert Balagopal is no more A proud Madrasi Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Engineering seats go abegging No engine for this car PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Auto components surge… Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Delhi Chalo... Strengthen the base... GNS - 100: our first subscriber Another Indian music maestro at the UN Cement prices continue to rise… Polls and promises The brown list of Venkitaramanan Shale gas and its shallow future Kulandai was a giant ONGC at KG Basin Sweeter prospects for sugar New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Discoms deserve better… Cutting the nose to spite the face Welcome GST A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… SoA @ 80 More tributes to GR Align crops to agro climate endowments… Muffled voices for merit… Sweet news for TN sugar mills Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Make standards certification mandatory... A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Secularism and anti-Hinduism Rahman at CIC Quality silica from Neyveli Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Revving up the manufacturing sector The Swadeshi Trump Return to king coal for urea... Come elections, come advertisements... Editor's Notes An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... When small is no larger beautiful.. Why this malaise in medical education? This scant respect for Law
 
The nuclear option

Manmohan Singh and the UPA I & II governments had great ideas on power development. Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) and the nuclear deal are two great examples. These had the promise of achieving large additions in quick time. Sadly, both failed to take off on promised lines. The UMPP suffered by faulty ground work and the unrealistic stipulation of supply of power at fixed prices over the long term. Can such a commitment be made when there was no guarantee of supply of coal at fixed prices for decades? Neither the policymakers nor the companies that bade for this bothered to look closely at this premise. When global coal prices shot up, the UMPP idea bombed. Reliance Infrastructure that won 3 x 4000 MW projects just bade for time to get the government agree to revise the original condition of supply of power at fixed price . Tata Power was the only company to proceed ahead with construction and complete the project but had to plead for revision. Thus, the 36,000 MW project cleared witnessed just 4000 MW off the ground over ten years.

In regard to nuclear power it is equally tardy. Singh initiated the nuclear deal with the US in July 2005. He staked his all in getting this passed by the Parliament amidst a stiff opposition from the leftists who supported the UPA I government and did succeed. But, years later there had been slow progress in convincing nuclear suppliers to support the Indian initiatives. The Fukushima disaster further lent strength to the anti-nuclear forces. The Kudankulam power station, construction of which was already tardy with the Russian delays, was further stuck by opposition from lobbyists receiving support from several foreign sources.

The French that won the bid for the Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra, did evince lot of interest, but encountered problems relating to liability. There is disappointment over such a support not coming  from Japan during Prime Minister Modi’s visit. The sea-saw battle received some boost when the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised supply of uranium. There is further hope on China extending such support after President Xi Jinping’s visit.  

Technology is a two-sided weapon. There is need for a firm commitment for using its positive side. Nuclear energy is of great value to India in expanding its capacity for power generation. The country’s record in operating power plants over the past five decades and more has been satisfactory. India did not have any serious mishap or problem in operating its nuclear power stations in this period. The commitment to safety is paramount. Ensuring this can take care of adding large capacity.

I remember my interaction with a director of  the French nuclear company Framatome in Paris. I met him in 1982. He said: “France lacks fossil resources like coal and oil. Close to 80 per cent of power needs of the country are met by nuclear power. Our safety record has been exemplary.” In the 32 years since he made this statement one hasn’t witnessed any slip in this record.

 

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