Monday, November 04, 2013

Wrong Headed Energy Policy of India

Having joined the nuke bomb club one way or the other, India does not have much of an excuse to pursue Nuclear Energy for the sake of nuclear weapons technology (India is not contemporary Iran). India's nuclear weapons abilities are mature already. Given that, pursuing Nuclear Energy power plants has much less justification in India.

Consider a legitimate and timely case against India's fetish about Nuclear Energy as argued by Pankaj Mishra in Bloomberg. There are lot of things which might be going right in Abe's Japan, but "doubling down" on Nuclear Energy does seem to be one of those. Famed Japanese preparedness and discipline were nowhere to be found when the debacle of Fukushima happened. Rather than seeing these failure, for Indian Government to fall for Japanese nuclear reactor is essentially doing disservice to it's own tax payers by diverting precious resources to an ultra-expensive technology as well as to risk lives of common Indians for no apparent reason.

Indian Government is neither able to stop corruption in these mega budget public projects nor able to stop multitude of vested interests which keep pushing India on a wrong path. This love of mega-projects and unsuitable technologies is across the political spectrum. Congress Party has continued its Nuclear Energy Policy for decades despite it costing India fortune with puny results to show while across the board increasing risks of multiple Bhopal Accidents. Meanwhile in BJP, Narendra Modi's atrocious history in dealing with Narmada Dam and related projects sets equally deaf tone for a public policy.

India's power shortage is for real. But rather than opting for public participatory, cheap, decentralized alternative energy options (micro-solar plants and mini wind mill farms for example) and stemming of transmission losses; India continues its disastrous energy policy of centralized plants with uneconomic technology. It is shame that there are no signs of abating this wrong path regardless of who is in power.

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