Monday, June 30, 2008

The Deal

Here I am from Kuwait, in the comforts of an air conditioner, trying to figure out the only issue our country seems to be facing at the moment: The nuclear deal

But do I have any right to speak when those back in my country must be facing daily power cuts, strikes, rise in price of daily commodities and so many other related problems?

It is not as though we in Kuwait are free from troubles but a power cut is yet to be implemented (imminent even though the temperature outside can rise up to 60 degrees) and oil is the only commodity that has not faced a price increase. Those working outside will give anything to be back in India with the strikers if they could.

Yet, this is the only issue our usual experts have not come to a proper conclusion. You have the leftists and the rightists and even experts talking with authority but most of them with certain reservations. And as a result the democratic setup of our country has responded: there is no majority for the deal (at least until yesterday!)

But even in this set up I fail to understand what is prompting our Prime Minister to go ahead with the deal. Is a deal that was discussed with US at time when it is under the most unpopular President worth all these hungama? One cannot forget that when US ventured into Iraq ,those who cited the reason as oil were all clobbered but now the same is being universally accepted. Ok, let me chuck out my prejudices and try to think...

They say once this nuclear deal has come through, our country will be saved from all the energy issues.

I read our ex-President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam's speech on 59th independence day August 2005 once again; just for an assurance. I am sure this speech was well rehearsed & researched and I do want to doubt the sincerity, honesty and above all the sanity of its contents.

Let me quote a few excerpts from his speech while the full speech can be read here:

Fortunately for us, 89% of energy used for power generation today is indigeneous, from coal (56%), hydroelectricity (25%), nuclear power (3%) and Renewable (5%). Solar energy segment contributes just 0.2% of our energy production.

Changing Structure of Energy Sources:
The strategic goals for Energy Independence by 2030 would thus call for a shift in the structure of energy sources. Firstly, fossil fuel imports need to be minimized and secure access to be ensured. Maximum hydro and nuclear power potential should be tapped. The most significant aspect, however would be that the power generated through renewable energy technologies may target 20 to 25% against the present 5%. It would be evident that for true Energy Independence, a major shift in the structure of energy sources from fossil to renewable energy sources is mandated.

Solar farms
(the last para) We thus need to embark on a major national programme in solar energy systems and technologies, for both large, centralized applications as well as small, decentralized requirements concurrently, for applications in both rural and urban areas.

Nuclear Energy
Nuclear power generation has been given a thrust by the use of uranium based fuel. However there would be a requirement for a ten fold increase in nuclear power generation even to attain a reasonable degree of energy self sufficiency for our country. Therefore it is essential to pursue the development of nuclear power using Thorium, reserves of which are higher in the country. Technology development has to be accelerated for Thorium based reactors since the raw material for Thorium is abundantly available in our country. Also, Nuclear Fusion research needs to be progressed with international cooperation to keep that option for meeting the large power requirement, at a time when fossil fuels get depleted.

Power through Municipal Waste

Power System Loss Reduction:

Transportation Sector

Use of biofuels

Even now the experts say that the nuclear deal will only cover 7% of our energy requirements by Year 2020 but with considerable costs and related security issues.

Now that we have an option with Iran for Gas, what is stopping us from pursuing the same? Knowing Pakistan, isn’t it better to take a risk with them rather than with this nuclear deal?

Have we really exhausted all our options?

Is it only the energy crisis that is making Congress change its stance of last 40 years?

Is it?

Is it?

Oh the questions are numerous and I shall keep looking for the answers..


  1. I wish if the Left were a bit more practical. They are now neither with original Leftists (China, Russia) nor on the right... worse nor in the centre! I don't know where they are. I once could relate to them, when I was in Kerala. It's getting difficult now. They need to know the world has changed, and it still is changing. Sad part is they are objecting to the deal, just because it's linked to the US! I could have appreciated if they were worried about nuclear energy as such.

  2. powercut in kuwait? unlikely - you have if i recall right a multi level grid fully backed up - as for india safe nuclear reactors are the answer.

  3. @Pradeep, I still have mixed feelings.. I guess I have lost faith in the Congress too..

    @Maddie: Wish you are right....

    Power cuts will continue
    Published Date: July 03, 2008

    KUWAIT: Despite Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) reassurances that power cuts would not affect the country as they did last year, ministry sources have predicted that there will be some limited power cuts this summer, with a few already recorded.


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