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ONGC at KG Basin Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Contrarian cousins GNS - 100: our first subscriber The rise and fall of Annamalai University Muffled voices for merit… CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Fuel for thought When Ratan Tata visited SRM Roaring Ro-Ro facility TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... IAS invades NDDB... Convulsions in The Hindu Demise of a media baron... Another Indian music maestro at the UN Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Shipping woes of Chennai companies GM Technology at last! Robber barons everywhere Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW For whom the bell tolls? Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? B H Kothari - a tribute Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ A more liberated TN… London, London Narayan TIAM turns a full cycle Streamlining mandatory third party cover Plummeting profits of PSBs A think tank for Chennai Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Intellectual of rare qualities SoA @ 80 Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Paytm karo... A rich pool of talent not utilised…. The rise and rise of KCP Vibrant Gujarat Adharma of opposition politics Kudos to NDTV... CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Fortune 500 review Revive development banks... Parliament in paralysis... Quality silica from Neyveli Sri Lanka votes for change For whom the MIDS bell tolls? A yen for wastage… Silver Years of Madras Musings A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Align crops to agro climate endowments… New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… The sea- saw battle continues... Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Nuclear power at the nucleus Building loyalty through the stomach Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Return to king coal for urea... 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This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Delhi Chalo... Editor's Notes Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! The star of Spencers is no more Fortune for Indian Airlines Why land prices zoom in TN? Preserving for the future The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Small units prefers to remain small... Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model More tributes to GR No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Maximising the micro pricing … Protest masters... When small is no larger beautiful.. He saved millions from starvation... Poor quality of university VCs Which side are you, Montek? L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles China invests in India Telangana in top gear… Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science The Swadeshi Trump Valli, they are more marginalised Solar, solar everywhere … Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Come elections, come advertisements... Delhi is distant… Auto components surge… An enemy’s enemy is a friend Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Tribute – M V Murugappan Welcome GST …and of a popular trade leader Gay abandon in pricing S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Recognition to role of NBFCs.... More heat than light A friendly business group Boy, can you beat these? An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... An inexplicable neglect Multi-faceted Venkat When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Modi and the lady Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Tribute – UCAL Selvan… More Shakthi to Das’ elbow The why of tax incentives The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad A welcome initiative by the judiciary Waning interest in public discussions… Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Secularism and anti-Hinduism EVM is tamper-proof Rahman at CIC Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Where a state respects its litterateurs… When the President was rendered homeless… Sweet news for TN sugar mills There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Tatas moving out of urea production... Welcome focus on core competence Tough task taking states together The balancing act Medical costs hit the roof... More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Editor's Says Music happens Build close rapport with business leaders Polls and promises Modi storms Silicon Valley PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals How Air-India loses customs... Where is Rajaji? TGS- The king storyteller Shanti and Sadhana through Music Tax agriculture Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Haul over the coal The few handicaps... A glass full of corruption The Gulf aviation boom S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Make standards certification mandatory... Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Tatas moving out of urea production... Delhi returns to BJP Road development slows down Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities EEC at the National Media Centre Should we change the official year? Solar thermal shines… Banning booze... Airlines in India: cost and space Sweeter prospects for sugar IPL - no surprise this scam When nations steal growth from one another… Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… The power-full Hindujas The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ IPL type auction for VCs? TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector
 
The nuclear option

Manmohan Singh and the UPA I & II governments had great ideas on power development. Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) and the nuclear deal are two great examples. These had the promise of achieving large additions in quick time. Sadly, both failed to take off on promised lines. The UMPP suffered by faulty ground work and the unrealistic stipulation of supply of power at fixed prices over the long term. Can such a commitment be made when there was no guarantee of supply of coal at fixed prices for decades? Neither the policymakers nor the companies that bade for this bothered to look closely at this premise. When global coal prices shot up, the UMPP idea bombed. Reliance Infrastructure that won 3 x 4000 MW projects just bade for time to get the government agree to revise the original condition of supply of power at fixed price . Tata Power was the only company to proceed ahead with construction and complete the project but had to plead for revision. Thus, the 36,000 MW project cleared witnessed just 4000 MW off the ground over ten years.

In regard to nuclear power it is equally tardy. Singh initiated the nuclear deal with the US in July 2005. He staked his all in getting this passed by the Parliament amidst a stiff opposition from the leftists who supported the UPA I government and did succeed. But, years later there had been slow progress in convincing nuclear suppliers to support the Indian initiatives. The Fukushima disaster further lent strength to the anti-nuclear forces. The Kudankulam power station, construction of which was already tardy with the Russian delays, was further stuck by opposition from lobbyists receiving support from several foreign sources.

The French that won the bid for the Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra, did evince lot of interest, but encountered problems relating to liability. There is disappointment over such a support not coming  from Japan during Prime Minister Modi’s visit. The sea-saw battle received some boost when the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised supply of uranium. There is further hope on China extending such support after President Xi Jinping’s visit.  

Technology is a two-sided weapon. There is need for a firm commitment for using its positive side. Nuclear energy is of great value to India in expanding its capacity for power generation. The country’s record in operating power plants over the past five decades and more has been satisfactory. India did not have any serious mishap or problem in operating its nuclear power stations in this period. The commitment to safety is paramount. Ensuring this can take care of adding large capacity.

I remember my interaction with a director of  the French nuclear company Framatome in Paris. I met him in 1982. He said: “France lacks fossil resources like coal and oil. Close to 80 per cent of power needs of the country are met by nuclear power. Our safety record has been exemplary.” In the 32 years since he made this statement one hasn’t witnessed any slip in this record.

 

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