The Nuclear Deal is through. The deal took something like three years to go through. There were problems, both internal and external. But it went through.
One has to admire what money can do. Impossible odds become high probability happenings. It is after all a $40 billion market!
What next people will ask. Will this make the politicians richer? Will it improve the overall power situation in India? Will it lead to radioactive waste polluting the already polluted Indian countryside?
I don’t think it will make politicians richer. One interesting thing to note is that Atomic Energy is not handled by a Goverment of India ministry. It is handled by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). The DAE is under the direct control of the Prime Minister even though it comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
It is under the administration of one of the most important people in India’s nuclear energy setup: Dr Anil Kakodkar. Most of the power plant construction is going to be carried out by private companies. Finally since it is going to have a lot of international involvement the room for small players is limited.
What the UPA government has done is kept the nuclear energy department as separate from rest of the Government of India (GOI) machinery as possible. I think that is why the opposition parties were hopping mad. It neutralised their control/influence on the deal.
The drama that was played out in the Parliament over the nuclear deal shamed the whole nation. It also shows how greedy our politicians can get when it comes to money.
It should also improve the power situation but not in the near future. India plans to add increase nuclear power generation from approx 4200 MW (currently) to 52,000 MW by 2020. But 2020 is a long way down the road. Plans can change and then change again in 12 years.
The effort towards getting thorium-based nuclear power plants up and running (India has one of the highest reserves of thorium in the world) will be one of the most important measures of success of this deal looking at it from the point of view of India.
Nuclear waste and saftey will remain a big issue. India is not known for good saftey records when it comes to industries. But entering into international agreements will ensure that the Indian nuclear power plants come under international safeguards.
Next 5 years will tell the true story of the nuclear deal. The Indian public and the World will know what the signing that deal really meant.
Good luck to India and Good luck to the citizens of India