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When Ratan Tata visited SRM Readers' Mail The Gulf aviation boom Delhi is distant… Sri Lanka votes for change When small is no larger beautiful.. A yen for wastage… …and of a popular trade leader 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 Cement prices continue to rise… The Jan Dhan bonanza Fuel for thought Streamlining mandatory third party cover Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Build close rapport with business leaders Noble nonagenarians... Contrarian cousins Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel PC’s preference for professionals A glass full of corruption The balancing act Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Music happens Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Solar thermal shines… IPL type auction for VCs? The nuclear option Delhi Chalo... Editor's Notes SoA @ 80 Protest masters... The why of tax incentives TELANGANA at last…BUT L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform EEC at the National Media Centre A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… B H Kothari - a tribute Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Strengthen the base... When the President was rendered homeless… Fortune 500 review Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Delhi returns to BJP He continues the focus on social amelioration TGS- The king storyteller Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Airlines in India: cost and space Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks No Maha Koottani in TN... Maximising the micro pricing … Modi and the lady Return to king coal for urea... Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Tough task taking states together GNS - 100: our first subscriber Why land prices zoom in TN? A more liberated TN… GM Technology at last! When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Plummeting profits of PSBs Put expensive assets created to use... 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A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Tribute – M V Murugappan Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Tax agriculture Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V When nations steal growth from one another… Intellectual of rare qualities A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Which side are you, Montek? Align crops to agro climate endowments… Sweet news for TN sugar mills Pharma – overdose of copying An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health A friendly business group An inexplicable neglect A think tank for Chennai Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Demise of a media baron... CII projects higher growth… IAS invades NDDB... TIAM turns a full cycle Kulandai was a giant TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Adharma of opposition politics Auto components surge… Why this malaise in medical education? The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Welcome focus on core competence Editor's Says Five star activism stalls development activity Towards speedy justice Preserving for the future Funding the un-funded Delhi is distant Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Polls and promises Rahman at CIC For whom the bell tolls? West Bengal: mindless malignancy Road development slows down Secularism and anti-Hinduism All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Parliament in paralysis... The rise and rise of KCP Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy
 
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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