My dear Prime Minister,
PRIME MINISTER’S IMPENDING VISIT TO AMERICA AND IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR NUCLEAR LIABILITY ACT
It is only on matters of vital national concern that I address a letter to my Prime Minister. We appear to be facing such a situation today. I refer to the reported move to authorise NPCIL, to sign a preliminary contract with the US multinational WESTINGHOUSE, for setting up nuclear power reactors in Mithi Virdi, Gujarat, prior to your forthcoming visit to the USA next week.
As you are well aware I am not a proponent of Nuclear Energy, for reasons I have outlined to you in several letters over the past few years, and particularly since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011. If anything the subsequent developments in Japan have only reinforced my opinion that India is best positioned to find her energy security from several other renewable sources.
However it is with shock and dismay that I have read the report in the Hindu today, and listened to the morning’s debates on our TV channels, which, if true, imply the following:
1. It dilutes the Nuclear Liability Laws, primarily to accommodate the commercial interests of US Nuclear business corporations. This is unacceptable and violates the sanctity of Parliament, and is totally against the interests of the Indian people.
2. If true, the leaked note to the CCS [Cabinet Committee on Security] to authorise NPCIL to sign the above mentioned contract and to make an initial payment of Rs 100 crores [US$ 15 million], shows a regrettable by-passing of the designated authority, namely the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission]. Any reference of the matter to AEC should normally have been preceded by a comprehensive Viability Study indicating the environmental, human, safety, technical and financial situation – in addition to a security assessment, given that Mithi Virdi is located close to the border with Pakistan. That this approval is now being sought from a body like the CCS, with no expertise in any of the foregoing, is shocking.
3. I am constrained to add that all of the above actions smack of both undue haste, and surrendering to pressures from outside. There is no reason for India to be bending over backwards to meet the business demands of America, or France or Russia. The nuclear industry in each of these c