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  • Japan Continues to Battle Fukushima Nuclear Crisis

    After the threat level for the Fukushima plant was raised from 5 to 7, Japan’s claims about the situation getting stabilised are being received with a degree of scepticism.

    April 18, 2011

    Why India should retain its No-First-Use policy?

    Since there is no evidence to suggest that the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile has degraded India’s retaliatory capability, India should retain its no-first-use doctrine.

    April 11, 2011

    Bharath Kumar asked: Considering the fact our bridge fell off during CWG without EQ (and Bhopal), I am curious about the safety of nuclear facilities? All good?

    A. Vinod Kumar replies: It is natural to be curious and concerned about safety of our civil nuclear energy facilities, in the light of the Japanese tragedy. I will also not call it unfair to compare it with the mishaps during the CWG constructions and the Bhopal tragedy. For such events reflect the national culture in constructing and maintaining national assets and how much of commitment and accountability is followed on their establishment. Hence, the worries on nuclear energy facilities are genuine and need to be addressed by the government before we plunge into our contribution to the nuclear energy renaissance.

    Yet, despite all what we need to be worried about, our nuclear energy infrastructure has been amazingly robust, reliable and durable. A reason why this could be affirmatively claimed is the environment in which the nuclear energy infrastructure came up. The questioner might recall that for most part of our nuclear energy development years, we were at the receiving end of technology control regimes, like the NSG. While proliferation concerns were cited as reason why we were kept outside, besides the fact that we didn’t sign the NPT, another inherent element was the questions regarding our ability to ‘safely’ run the nuclear infrastructure. This was more of a western prejudice on most third world countries. Hence, even when we developed an indigenous nuclear energy infrastructure like Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), the DAE stressed that we adhere to the best practices and standards of safety. And that culture has been followed as a sacrosanct value ever since.

    A case in example is the Tsunami onslaught on Kalpakkam in December 2004. Unlike in Fukushima where the power units to run the coolant systems were perilously close to sea, and hence vulnerable to tidal surges, our power units in Kalpakkam are reportedly secured at a height of 15 meters, sufficiently away from the sea. Not many might recall that a whole housing colony for Kalpakkam employees were wiped out by the Tsunami, but yet our reactor and the power units were intact thanks to such measures.
    Hence, even while we conceive ourselves as a corrupt nation without accountability on national assets and infrastructure, this is one example to show how we might be more progressive then even many western countries on safety and security. Of course, the Bhopal tragedy might have been an eye-opener which our planners took seriously while planning other national assets. That tragedy also very well reflects in our Nuclear Liability Bill in which, much to chagrin of western suppliers, we have made long-term provisions to make even the suppliers accountable to any mishaps in nuclear facilities.

    Japan Battling the Nuclear Nightmare

    Japan’s tryst with the atom, from Hiroshima to Fukushima, has been ruinous in both its avatars - its use in weapons and in energy.

    March 22, 2011

    Taking stock of Japan’s Nuclear Crisis

    Even as Japan has become increasingly reliant on nuclear energy, its nuclear safety record has not been very satisfactory.

    March 22, 2011

    Japan’s Nuclear Crisis and Analysis of Radiation Data as on 18/03/2011

    The possibility of situation worsening can not be ruled out. However, it would be counter-productive to create panic by speculating only worst case scenario.

    March 18, 2011

    Japan Faces a Nuclear Disaster

    Japan is in a state of panic as the situation in the Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to intensify.

    March 18, 2011

    Japan debates the viability of nuclear power plants

    As Japan grapples with a “nuclear emergency situation” a domestic debate has begun about whether a quake -prone country should rely on nuclear power.

    March 16, 2011

    Naeem Salik, The Genesis of South Asian Nuclear Deterrence: Pakistan’s Perspective, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010

    On any subject, there are always two stories to tell- or may be more. This book seems to do the same when it comes to the debate over the nuclearisation of the South Asian region. As the title of the book suggests, Brig. (Retd.) Naeem Salik seeks to revisit the history of South Asian nuclear weapons from Pakistan’s perspective. The author feels that the story told, so far, has been obtuse and has worked to the detriment of Pakistan’s interests. In order to create a balance in the literature, the author claims to provide ‘dispassionate and objective analysis’

    January 2011

    A Doctrine at Work: Obama's Evolving Nuclear Policy and What it Bodes for India

    President Obama made history by coming to office with the promise of working towards a nuclear weapons-free world. Envisioning a new non-proliferation momentum, Obama promised to revive the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) system and create nuclear security and energy architectures that will secure nuclear materials and make proliferation difficult. A year later, Obama realised the difficulties of selling his vision to his bureaucratic-military establishment, which resisted efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons while pushing for nuclear modernisation.

    March 2011