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An enemy’s enemy is a friend This scant respect for Law PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals London, London Narayan IPL - no surprise this scam Five star activism stalls development activity Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Boy, can you beat these? Which side are you, Montek? He continues the focus on social amelioration IAS invades NDDB... Align crops to agro climate endowments… S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Maximising the micro pricing … The rise and rise of KCP China invests in India Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Waning interest in public discussions… Medical costs hit the roof... Tatas moving out of urea production... Kinetic Karnataka A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science The Gulf aviation boom Funding the un-funded Contrarian cousins Protest masters... Tribute Welcome GST Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Vibrant Gujarat Building loyalty through the stomach When online building permits work…. Valli, they are more marginalised Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Revving up the manufacturing sector Muffled voices for merit… Moily’s bold thrust More heat than light Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Gas is the way forward The Jan Dhan bonanza Another Indian music maestro at the UN Small units prefers to remain small... Streamlining mandatory third party cover Nuclear power at the nucleus Tough task taking states together He saved millions from starvation... TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Discoms deserve better… Making ‘my Amaravati’... WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Welcome focus on core competence Roaring Ro-Ro facility Haul over the coal TIAM turns a full cycle Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami The few handicaps... Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Sweeter prospects for sugar There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! A think tank for Chennai CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Kudos to NDTV... Plummeting profits of PSBs Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. A proud Madrasi A yen for wastage… Russi Mody – a tribute …and of a popular trade leader Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Why land prices zoom in TN? Things happen by accident and not by design... Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik How Air-India loses customs... A friendly business group Sweet news for TN sugar mills Cutting the nose to spite the face The balancing act Robber barons everywhere Gay abandon in pricing Solar thermal shines… Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Music happens Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Shanti and Sadhana through Music More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Polls and promises Readers' Mail Where is Rajaji? Modi storms Silicon Valley A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Quality education through the PPP mode Wise Presidents An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Tribute – UCAL Selvan… A rich pool of talent not utilised…. West Bengal: mindless malignancy PC’s preference for professionals Breaththrough in malaria control The rise and fall of Annamalai University Come elections, come advertisements... Preserving for the future More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities EEC at the National Media Centre Where a state respects its litterateurs… Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Solar, solar everywhere … CII projects higher growth… Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW IPL type auction for VCs? When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Intellectual of rare qualities An inexplicable neglect Make standards certification mandatory... No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Towards speedy justice A more liberated TN… TELANGANA at last…BUT GNS - 100: our first subscriber S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Road development slows down Should we change the official year? Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Delhi is distant Shale gas and its shallow future B H Kothari - a tribute Adharma of opposition politics Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Noble nonagenarians... GM Technology at last! Kulandai was a giant The nuclear option Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Multi-faceted Venkat Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Editor's Notes Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Convulsions in The Hindu Fuel for thought A professional at the helm of IRDA... Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Put expensive assets created to use... Mu Sigma – is no more Why this malaise in medical education? TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! When the President was rendered homeless… Mersal magnified Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Tatas moving out of urea production... Paytm karo... The sea- saw battle continues... The why of tax incentives Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Quality silica from Neyveli Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Pharma – overdose of copying Parliament in paralysis... Delhi Chalo... Sri Lanka votes for change Rahman at CIC Silver Years of Madras Musings Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel A glass full of corruption More tributes to GR When Ratan Tata visited SRM Fortune 500 review Auto components surge… Shipping woes of Chennai companies When small is no larger beautiful.. EVM is tamper-proof Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Editor's Says Cement prices continue to rise… Poor quality of university VCs No engine for this car SoA @ 80 A welcome initiative by the judiciary Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Tax agriculture The brown list of Venkitaramanan TGS- The king storyteller Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Revive development banks... Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Delhi is distant… to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. 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 Tribute – M V Murugappan Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ No Maha Koottani in TN... Alexa – Talking Wikipedia A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL ONGC at KG Basin Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet The power-full Hindujas The Swadeshi Trump All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Fortune for Indian Airlines Banning booze... Modi and the lady Delhi returns to BJP For whom the bell tolls? Secularism and anti-Hinduism Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Engineering seats go abegging Strengthen the base... Telangana in top gear… The star of Spencers is no more Build close rapport with business leaders When nations steal growth from one another… L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Demise of a media baron... Airlines in India: cost and space Return to king coal for urea...
 
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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