SHRI D. RAJA (CONTD.): But having said that, I must say that Mr. Ram, who accompanied our Prime Minister, who is the Editor of 'The Hindu', after returning from Russia, wrote explaining the non-deal with Russia. Let me quote: "Is there a linking between backing away, just before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Russia visit, from concluding an inter-Governmental Nuclear Agreement with Russia and an apprehension of American displeasure? Has the Government become one-trick pony?" This is what Ram writes. Still, there is an apprehension why that Agreement with Russia did not go through. It is an inter-Governmental Agreement and Russian Government was prepared. Even it could have used it as an argument to deal with the US. Why our Government did not agree to sign that Agreement, I do not know. But, here, during the debate, some people mentioned about China. We have got a better deal in comparison to China and other things. Maybe, I would like to ask them to see the Chinese Agreement also which says the China-US 123 Accord states "the Parties recognise with respect to the observance of this Agreement the principle of international law that provides that a Party may not involve the provisions of its internal law as jurisdiction for its failure to perform the Treaty." This is what the China-US 123 Accord says. I can quote what the Japan-US 123 Agreement says, because there is a misconception that we have gained a great deal in comparison to US-China deal, or, US-Japan deal. It is somewhat misplaced and, moreover, this 123 Agreement has an impact. The Henry Hyde Act is the enabling Act; whether we like it or not. Mr. Nicholas Burns, on record, has made it very clear that the Hyde Act is an enabling legislation for India-US 123 Agreement. Mr. M. K. Narayan went on record to confirm that during negotiations all the requirements of the Hyde Act were taken care of. This is what I want to tell you. Therefore, how can one argue that the Hyde Act has nothing to do with India, we are bound by 123 Agreement only? The Hyde Act has nothing to do with India; 123 Agreement will override everything. I do not agree, or, I am not convinced of that argument. Maybe, in legal terms what others have been saying, whether that convinces them, that is my question, because it does not convince others.
Here, I must raise a few things with regard to energy. It is not that Left is opposed to nuclear energy. We understand the importance of nuclear energy and people talk about clean energy. We raised this issue, that is, Kyoto Agreement. It is the US, which is not signing that Agreement. The other day, our Finance Minister went on record that developed countries are responsible for emissions of all that which causes global warming and developing countries cannot be accused for that. Having said that, I must say India already has nuclear energy. I have a document, which gives worldwide data for world nuclear power reactors, up to May, 2007. It says India has got 17 reactors under operation and we generate 2.6 per cent of nuclear energy, out of the total energy generated. Now, if this Deal goes through, what is the projection? By 2020, India will have 6.8 per cent nuclear energy. It means there will be an increase of 4.2 per cent. For 4.2 per cent, what is the economic cost we are making, or, what is the political cost we are paying? I do not want to go into the figures. It is a well known fact that nuclear energy is the most expensive and India's other sources also can be better option in the Indian context. (Contd. by 4P/SKC)
SHRI D. RAJA (CONTD.): Hydel power, thermal power, solar energy, wind energy -- all these things can be considered. In addition to that, we have developed our own indigenous nuclear technology. I must congratulate our scientists and technicians who have laboured and developed our nuclear technology against sanctions. I congratulate them; but why can't we think of something? A recent argument was that we do not have Uranium deposits and even if we have Uranium, its quality is very low. I do not know what is the scientific proof to show that Indian Uranium is low on quality, or that we do not have enough Uranium deposits. These things can be debated upon, but the option of nuclear energy cannot be treated as the best option. India will have to consider this. Of course, we want India to move towards faster growth. Even the 9.1 per cent growth that we talked of has started declining. Government will have to think of other macro-level economic policies to sustain a faster growth.
Having said this, I must move on to other issues which friends have raised, that is, the nuclear agreement will raise India to the high table of the Nuclear Club, or that we would get away from nuclear apartheid, or that there will be nuclear renaissance, or that there will be nuclear winter all over the world. I don't buy all these arguments because these are all epithets to hoodwink people. I do not know how far these are true. Even in the United States of America, they have not built new nuclear reactors and there has been nothing for the past three decades. They are looking for a big nuclear market in India and that is the major concern for the US behind pushing for this nuclear agreement. That is why, I say that this agreement is not in our interest. We cannot go against this agreement. This agreement is detrimental to our national interest. We cannot become a military ally to the United States of America. People think that India is a big nation, a big democracy; India cannot be taken for granted; India cannot succumb, and so on. But let us not forget -- I do not mean to make comparisons -- that even as a big nation, India was under colonial rule. We were ruled by several imperial powers. We were ruled by the British; we were ruled by the Portuguese; we were ruled by the French. India was colonised. We should understand and draw lessons from our own history. That is why, India needs self-reliant development. India needs a self-reliant nuclear policy. India needs a self-reliant economic development. My question is, will this agreement help India to emerge as a stronger nation? With this deal, we cannot think of India emerging as a stronger, prosperous nation. In the name of India, in the name of our nation, I appeal to the Government not to rush through with this agreement and not to do anything in haste. Let the Government take the Parliament into confidence.
The hon. Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister have listened to all the speeches made on the floor of this House and I think the majority of opinion is not for the deal. Then, how is this Government going to take this deal into consideration? People talk about aam admi. Even we know what aam admi thinks and what they are, because we work among the aam admi. It is not as if only some people know what is in the minds of the aam admi while others do not know. We speak in the name of the nation. It is not that we have some other interests. My colleague, comrade Sitaram Yechury, spoke about Chinese support. Some Congress representative said that China is opposing it. I do not know about it. Let the hon. External Affairs Minister clarify whether China is opposed to India's position. One should not make such comments in the course of a debate. I do not know whether China is really opposing India's efforts or what is happening to Pakistan. But, finally, Sir, I must say that we must keep in mind whatever happens around us -- what is happening in Pakistan; what is happening in Nepal; what is happening in Bangladesh; what is happening in Burma, and what is happening in Sri Lanka. We have a democracy. It is a vibrant democracy. We have a Parliament, a sovereign Parliament, a functioning Parliament.
(Contd. by 4q/hk)
SHRI D. RAJA (CONTD.): Our democracy has taken strong roots. Political parties are responsible and answerable to people. Take the people into confidence; take the Parliament into confidence and take the political parties into confidence. Do not proceed further to operationalise this deal. This is the position of CPI and Left. Thank you, very much.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Shrimati Kanimozhi. This is her maiden speech. Please don't disturb.
SHRIMATI KANIMOZHI (TAMIL NADU): Thank you, hon. Deputy Chairman, Sir. I stand here today with humility and hope -- humility for this august institution and hope for the future of this nation, which all of you and our predecessors have nurtured.
I am glad that my maiden speech to this venerated Chamber will help present my party's view on the all-important 123 Agreement.
My party and I firmly believe that the Agreement will benefit India by giving us full access to civilian nuclear technology without us having to sign the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, and lift all the 33 years of unfair sanctions against us and allow us to maintain an independent military nuclear programme.
Some say that this is an unfair deal for India. The US Under Secretary, Nicholas Burns, the most often quoted man, in an interview to the US Press has said that the "United States is not going to suggest a similar deal with any other country in the world. India is an exception."
The New York Times and the Washington Post condemn the US Government for giving us too much. Pakistan has urged for a similar deal. Chinese papers and even American politicians have said that the US is trying to make India into a de facto nuclear power.
After all this, one cannot but conclude that the Indian Government and the Prime Minister must have done something good for the nation. Given the complexity and importance of this deal, it is understandable that people have questions and concerns about it, some genuine, some political.
Seeing it in the spirit of nation-building, our party leader, Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, believes that the process of reconciling the differences over the 123 Agreement will not and should not unsettle the Government or disturb governance. It is an article of faith with him that if the Indo-US Nuclear Deal is fairly debated and clearly understood, concern will give way to consensus.
Sir, here, I would like to make it clear that our party and our leader have never changed their position. We always supported it. We just wanted to have consensus and we thought that is the most important thing. India, along with China relies so heavily on coal for power. By 2020, China is preparing to produce more than 40,000 MW of electricity in its nuclear power plants.
We too have ambitions to generate 30,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020. But this will not be possible without the 123 Agreement. So, we will need to import nuclear fuel, such as uranium, for decades before our own Fast Breeder Reactor Technology becomes viable. Yes, we should also invest in developing our own thorium-based nuclear technology. But that is a long way away.
Plutonium, retrieved from spent fuel, is believed to be the key to India's energy independence. Plutonium reused with thorium, which is abundant in India, is said to yield 30 times more energy than conventional nuclear plants. But to reach there we have to take our first step.
Apart from strategic and political concerns, there are many environmental concerns too. Our worldwide industrial civilization runs on energy and 85 per cent of the world's energy is provided by the fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas. By burning fossil fuels, we inject 23 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year into the atmosphere, that is, 730 tonnes per second. (Contd. by 4r/KSK)
SHRIMATI KANIMOZHI (CONTD): Sir, some environmentalists believe in the simplicity of solar cells and the pristine elegance of windmills and they refuse to accept the fact that they are quantitatively incapable of supplying the energy required. I do not mean to say that these renewable energies should be excluded; they are useful and have important niche roles to play. But, they can make only a marginal contribution to the growing energy needs.
For example, to replace just one nuclear reactor, such as the new EPR reactor which France is now building in Normandy, with the most modern wind turbines, they would have to be lined up all the way from Italy to Barcelona in Spain, which is about 700 kilometres. And, even so, they generate electricity only when the wind blows.
There is much talk about bio-fuels, like ethanol from sugarcane. The entire ploughable surface of the earth could not produce enough bio-fuel to replace present oil consumption, and it would also result in food crisis. By 2100, oil and natural gas reserves will likely be exhausted. This leaves only coal and nuclear energy. The idea of using more coal, the greatest contributor to global warming, is simply not acceptable. One gram of uranium yields about as much energy as a tonne of coal or oil. Spent fuel can be reprocessed to separate out the 3 per cent of radioactive elements to be vitrified for safe and permanent storage. The remaining 97 per cent can be recovered and recycled.
Another argument against nuclear energy starts with disasters like the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Three Mile Island was the worst accident one can imagine. The core of the reactor melted down and much of it fell to the bottom of the reactor vessel. In spite of it, the radioactivity released was almost entirely confined within the reinforced concrete containment structure. As a result, no one was seriously injured. In fact, the Three Mile Island was a real success story for nuclear safety. Chernobyl was different. It had no containment structure. The reactor's faulty design made it unstable. A 600-ton graphite moderator caught fire and burnt for several weeks. Thirty-two people died within a few months, and about 200 more were severely affected and there were reports of many cancer cases. Chernobyl was the perfect example of what not to do with a nuclear reactor. But, in half a century, there have been far fewer fatalities due to civilian nuclear power industry mishaps than coal mine accidents which are common occurrences adding up to about 15,000 per year worldwide. Sometimes, bias is more ideological than factual.
Given how the global nuclear trade has been structured, the 123 Agreement is the only way we can get access to the nuclear technology and resources we need to fulfil our own power plans. Since India is not a signatory to the NPT, we are not part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This makes it difficult for us to conduct nuclear trade with the 45 member countries of the NSG. And, because of the sanctions, we are denied dual use technology which can be greatly useful in fields like nano-technology, medicine, information technology and related industries.
At a recent India-France meet on nuclear energy in Mumbai, the French, who were the only Government not to condemn our 1998 nuclear tests, told us that they could not supply us the nuclear technology until we conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA and get an okay from the NSG. Even Russia, our closest ally, which was supposed to supply us with four more nuclear reactors for the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, have decided not to proceed with the deal. Russia, under a deal signed in 1985 by the then Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, and the Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, was helping us to put up these plants. However, after the break-up of the USSR, Russia joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which bans it from selling civilian nuclear technology to non-signatories of the NPT. The External Affairs Minister, in his statement, and today, the Prime Minister also, has explained clearly that India is waiting because we will have to go with an IAEA specific agreement for the arrangements to be operationalised. (continued by 4s - gsp)
SHRIMATI KANIMOZHI (CONTD): This also means that the project will be delayed. The delay means that there is a delay in the Rs. 26,000 crore central investment in Tamil Nadu. Since May 2006, the Tamil Nadu Government has signed MoUs for setting up projects in Tamil Nadu which involves a total investment of Rs. 11,083 crores. This will employ one lakh and twenty five thousand people. In the present situation, an added 1800 mw of energy, which we could have got is being delayed, and, which would have translated into more industries, more power for agriculture, and, more employment. Here, I would like to recall our respected Prime Minister's words from his statement made on 13th September, "This agreement with the United States will open new doors in capitals across the world. It is another step in our journey to regain our due place in the global councils."
Hon'ble Deputy Chairman, Sir, by talking about the energy aspects of the Indo-US nuclear deal, I do not mean to gloss over the fact that the 123 Agreement will move us strategically closer to the United States. The old fears of colonization and western hegemony that have haunted our collective consciousness need to be driven out of mind. We need to develop the confidence and self-assuredness to realise that we are capable of collaborating closely with any nation without losing our independence in policy or action. Signing an agreement with America does not mean that we endorse everything it does.
Concerns are voiced that any agreement this Government signs with the Nuclear Suppliers Group could come with the rider that India would work towards signing a Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty (FMCT). Since the 123 Agreement gives us the freedom to separate our civilian and military nuclear installations, the deal poses no significant threat to our own strategic nuclear programme.
It is also important to underline, while 123 Agreement has got stuck in the binary of Indo-US ties, the fact that it will open India to trading in nuclear technology with almost any country. Much has been made of the fact that there is a provision in the agreement that the US President could withdraw supplies of nuclear fuel and recall any equipment subject to a one-year notice.
Hence, we would like the Government to assure the Members that it is not committed to buying nuclear technology only from the US. We would also like to know if other members of the NSG could bail out India in the event of any cessation in supplies from the US.
While these details are critical, we must resist allowing it to distract us from larger purpose. The 123 Agreement has not come into being for itself. Its framers from the BJP which initiated nuclear talks with the US to the current Governments in New Delhi and Washington, did see it, and, still see it as an essential part of our development quiver, which means, the upliftment of 300 million people out of poverty, gender and caste discrimination, rural neglect and illiteracy.
Sir, I would like to conclude with the words of our founder leader Anna, spoken in this very esteemed House in November, 1962 on a debate during the Chinese aggression. He said, and, I quote, "I enter the name of the DMK in the roll call of honour that is being now formulated for the safety, for the dignity and future of this country, this nation". Thank you. (Ends)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (NOMINATED): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I thank you for this privilege of sharing my own thoughts on this important occasion. Since Independence, this great nation of ours has witnessed several path-breaking, dramatic and historic events. They represent the basic foundations of our system, symbolised throughout the working of the democratic process on which India has been built. They have nurtured, shaped and moulded many of free India's greatest achievements and are in a way responsible for the emergence of our country as a major player in the global arena. I see the consequences of this deal in the years to come in this perspective.
(Contd. by sk-4t)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (CONTD.): More than two years have passed since the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Bush that transformed the Vajpayee-Bush statement of 2001 into tangible objectives of cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. This period has witnessed major debates, both in India as well as in the US, about the merits and demerits of the various arrangements that need to be brought into operation to make cooperation possible. Many concerns have been expressed by the political, strategic and scientific communities in India. I, particularly, recall the historic debate in this august House on 17th August, 2006, where many hon. Members raised several areas of concern. I vividly recall some of the thoughtful points, nine points if I remember correctly, raised by hon. Shri Sitaram Yechury. My own assessment, which I presented to this august House in favour of this deal, has not undergone much change after two years. Our hon. Prime Minister, at that time, assured the House that the areas of concern would be satisfactorily dealt with in the further negotiations. These have significantly helped our negotiations in getting a better Agreement. In my considered view, the final form of the text of 123 Agreement makes it clear that various commitments made by the Prime Minister to Parliament, on several occasions, over the last two years, have been fully met.
Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, let us now address some of the concerns specifically in the context of the agreed text. Of course, there has been fairly elaborate discussion on this by my very illustrious speakers. So, I will only just touch three important points, which have been often raised as major areas of concerns. One of the major concerns is related to India's right to conduct further nuclear weapon tests. These issues are largely covered by article 13 and 14, which deals with "consultations" and "termination and Cessation of Cooperation" respectively. To enable us to get an idea of the efficacy of these provisions, several nuclear weapons testing scenarios can be envisioned that could potentially disrupt the Agreement. By carrying out such an exercise, it is evident that under all such scenarios, there is no possibility of the US actions that would disrupt civil nuclear power generation in this country. Through a set of interlocking and inter-related provisions reflected in articles 13 and 14 of the agreed text, it would appear that it is extremely difficult for the US to take back the equipment and materials that it would have supplied to India. In any case, there is also a provision that they have to pay a very high economic cost and also environmental consequences.
I may also use this opportunity to recall the observations of Dr. R. Chidambaram, at the end of the Pokhran-II test about an assessment of the outcome of the test and, particularly, emphasising the fact that for immediate objectives of weaponisation, the kind of refinements are needed and the kind of database is needed, they have been achieved through these tests and in the foreseeable future, further tests may not be necessary. And also, further refinement of the data and going for improved weaponisaton is still possible through laboratory simulations for which we have the necessary capability. We should keep this in mind because that gives us the perspective with respect to the immediate needs of these kinds of tests. But, having said that and granting that such a test becomes necessary in future, the resultant implications will be considerably influenced by our own progress on the indigenous front, investments in the field of nuclear energy from other countries, stakes on good relations in the overall context between India and the US and, ultimately, our own economic growth and clout. For different epochs, that is, at different points in time, may be five years later or ten years later or fifteen years later, when we are forced to conduct a test for reasons beyond our control and when the deal becomes operational, the impact of a possible termination of this Agreement can be modelled with reasonable realism and strategy for minimizing the same can be evolved. It is not that it will be blind alley and then we face the consequences. Certainly, that is an exercise, is a mandatory thing and I am sure that this will be carried out by the Government.
(Contd. by 4u)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (CONTD.): Fourthly, in my considered view, the type of exposure and experience we derive and the progress we make in the programme by operationalising this deal, and which provides unique opportunity to deal with several countries, including the United States, will equip us to face future sanctions far better than if the deal is not in place.
After all, if you are going to explode a nuclear device, you are going to face sanctions whether we have this deal or not. Probably interacting with 45 countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, dealing with the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, I think it will be a totally different way in which we can perceive the consequences and probably would have been very well equipped in terms of how to deal with those sanctions at that point in time because of this particular deal. So there is a positive aspect of the whole thing.
The other major concern has to do with India's right to reprocess the spent fuel. This issue is addressed in Article 6 of the Agreed Text that deals with "Nuclear Fuel Cycle Activities." Under Article 6(iii), it is stated and that I quote, "The parties grant each other consent to reprocess or otherwise alter in form or content nuclear material transferred pursuant to this Agreement." This means, in effect, that India has the right to reprocess spent fuel acquired through the implementation of the 123 Agreement. This provision also makes it clear that the consultations on the arrangements and procedures between the two sides should be concluded within a year of any party making a request for reprocessing the spent fuel. There is, therefore, no doubt that India's concerns with respect to reprocessing rights have been protected under the Agreement.
This also brings me to the question of India's access to reprocessing, enrichment or heavy water technologies. Article 5.2 says, an amendment is needed to allow such transfers. In my view, an early kind of an agreement, which this is, would certainly be watched by both the parties with respect to how it evolves. And as the evolution takes place, which is satisfying to both the sides and which is not very unusual, these kinds of requirements which are from one party could always be met by other party sympathetically. This is something which is not unusual. Many other deals, which we have had experience with, certainly had these kinds of developments in the subsequent phases of the modification of the deal to our advantage. So, this is something which one can certainly keep in mind.
The 123 Agreement also provides for guaranteed and assured fuel supplies for the various reactors that would be set up after the deal comes into effect. Article 5.6 (a-c) deals with how such guarantees would be provided. Apart from direct U.S. involvement in this process, the Agreement specifically provides for an arrangement through the International Atomic Energy Agency, and I quote, "To guard against withdrawal of safeguarded nuclear material from civilian use at any time as well as providing for corrective measures that India may take to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the events of disruption of foreign fuel supplies." Therefore, there are multiple layers of protection that have been built into this text in terms of a situation where the disruption of fuel could take place.
Having said all this, one should also recognise that a deal of this kind is always bound to be the best compromise, that is acceptable, practicable and above all giving due consideration to the internal compulsions of both the parties. Considering that it cannot be therefore perfect, the question one can ask is whether this is the best possible under the circumstances. Taking into account the various concerns expressed from our side and the way the same has been dealt with in this deal, I can say with good confidence that it is so. The operationalisation of this deal from our side will certainly pose challenges, and calls for careful and clever crafting of strategies both in planning and implementation. The process itself is expected to be highly dynamic.
Let us look at the rationale for the deal. The last few years have seen India's economy grow at the rate of 8-9 per cent. This GDP growth, of course, has to be sustained with significant enhancement in the country's energy production. Fossil fuel and hydro-electric power, which have been the main pillars of production of electricity in the country, will no doubt continue to play its significant role. Both these routes, however, do have some kinds of problems associated with them. Global warming appears to be a major environmental concern for all countries. And India being a major responsible country cannot afford to overlook this. Global warming can also significantly disrupt the hydrological cycle, and the implications of disrupting the hydrological cycle could also impact in terms of hydro-electric power generation.
(Contd. by RSS/4W)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (CONTD.): The considerations would dictate that a nuclear option is critical for meeting India's burgeoning power requirements. For nuclear power to be a major option for meeting future energy needs, its share in the energy mix should go up significantly from the present 2.6 per cent.
With the current availability of the uranium in the country, it appears unlikely that India would be able to produce more than 10,000 MW through the nuclear route. This is hardly adequate for nuclear power to be significant option for meeting future energy needs. By easing the uranium shortage in the country, the 123 Agreement also ensures that more power can be extracted out of the currently operating reactors.
The current largest indigenous reactor has a capacity of 540 MW. According to the Department of Atomic Energy, this can be scaled up to something like 740 MW. Nuclear plants have a high fixed cost and low operating cost and also have significant economies of scale. Larger size plants would, therefore, produce electricity more cheaply and increase the competitiveness of nuclear electricity with respect to the other sources of power. Larger size reactors of 1000 MW to 1600 MW are available today both in Russia and France, and this would be imported under the 123 Agreement with respect to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Partnerships between Indian private and public limited companies with those from other countries would also bring in much needed investments into this sector. That the technology acquisition and upgradation is not only in the nuclear establishment, but also in industry, is an important factor. Import in the initial period, followed by indigenisation and vendor development is also possible within the country. Further, Space and Atomic Energy departments use today industries for materials, manufacturing, testing, assembly quality/reliability etc. and this will all be subjected to major upgradation by increased activity in the nuclear field, particularly in the manufacture of nuclear power plant. In a sense, therefore, 20,000 MW to 30,000 MW, or even 40,000 MW becomes realistic only if we have options of import of 1000 to 1600 MW reactor. I may use this opportunity to add that as was mentioned by the hon. Member, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, China is planning by 2050 150,000 MWs addition through the nuclear power. I may also mention that the United States is taking fresh initiatives to open up their reactor industry primarily to meet some of their requirements internally, and they are likely to establish several reactors running into thousands of MW in the coming years. This is a renewed policy that they have taken considering the fact that the fossil fuel and the associated environmental impact have also to be answered by that country. In my view, even though we do not have an energy-mix policy and a correct assessment of what is the correct energy mix that is applicable to this country, in the context of several presentations that I have had the fortune to hear, it is quite clear that at least, 10 to 15 per cent could be a realistic component of the nuclear energy in an overall mix for the country by something like 2020. Equally importantly, more than merely being a bilateral Agreement, I should mention that we have to deal with 45 countries, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and they hold the key to the supply of fuel. I would use this opportunity to digress a little after having had some discussions with my senior colleagues in the Atomic Energy Establishment to what exactly this could provide as an opportunity to the Department of Atomic Energy more than what I have said here. First, of course, they say that it would immediately improve and make it faster to build reactors, and with the increased capacity in the next two to three decades which is very critical if you have to meet 10 to 15 per cent energy mix in the overall context. The second is that we can induct for the first time a 1500 MW plus kind of reactors through international cooperation. This is just not possible today to be built in this country. There are the questions of pressure raisers and many other things which have to be met. The third question is, certainly, these are available today in France and Russia, and in fact, there are interesting announcements from Russia that a pressurized water reactor may be available at 1500 MW.
(contd. by 4x)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (CONTD.): These are all interesting futuristic technologies on which we are yet to take much initiative. These become available to us because initially you can buy some of these reactors and you can also have technology transfer regime, and ultimately the industry in this country can take over. This will be not only a substantial addition to the nuclear power capacity for the country, but also an upgradation of the related technology, which will have implications not only in the nuclear area but also in many other areas. The pressurised water technologies are important to us. Currently, we have only the pressurised heavy water reactors. The whole idea of the Department of Atomic Energy is to keep both these kinds of projects, pressurised water reactor and pressurised heavy water reactor, parallely going for some time to come. It is here importing and indigenisation becomes an important thing.
Another thing that is not much often said but the Atomic Energy Department considers as very critical is the question of uranium enrichment and the availability under the NSG agreement, as and when we do that, of importing the yellow cake of uranium. This is an important input to both pressurised heavy water reactors and pressurised water reactors. What is significant in this connection is that it will give us an opportunity in terms of fuel availability from abroad, which will make the energy requirement to grow at the rate of something like 1,000-2,000 megawatts per year, and this is without any kind of product being brought from outside. Here is a very unique opportunity of getting the yellow cake of uranium, using it as a fuel and then increasing the rate of production of power with our own reactor capabilities.
Now, what is the other kind of things that we can think of coming out of this? One interesting point that was made is that we have the pressurised heavy water reactor capabilities which are of the 500-600 domain. There are several countries across the world which have shown interest in this level of reactor technology and the ability of India to supply this kind of reactor for their requirements. These are smaller countries which really have this kind of reactor capacity. Today, we are unable to export them simply because of the fact that unless we have the agreement with the NSG, as well as, other arrangements, we don't have the necessary mandate to do trade in this particular area. This is one of the important things that will open up. There are, of course, countries like Canada which has shown tremendous interest in our operational capability and replacement of various components. We have got highly robotised systems which have been developed in the Department of Atomic Energy. These are all things in which interest is being shown by advanced countries like Canada, and ultimately, of course, we have a lead role in the pressurised heavy reactor technology. The feast breeder reactor technology is not easy. Even now we still use a certain type of metal oxide. We need to go in for the metal as a fuel. There are technological implications for this. The importance of working with the United States and other countries in the context of this deal certainly will upgrade not only the technology that we will come to possess but also the critical knowledge that we need in the context of improving our own fast breeder reactor technology and the futuristic third phase which uses uranium 233, the thorium route. This is the critical, important aspect of what would happen with all these kinds of arrangements that are being done.
Sir, I should say a few words about the Department of Atomic Energy itself. They worked over the last 50 years under some of the most stringent sanctions any institution in the world has faced. In the process, today, they are a major power house. In several advanced technologies not only in the overall reactor building, commissioning and operationalising, but also in areas like materials, radiation detectors, nuclear fuel technologies, robotics, special processor systems and so on and so forth, it has become certainly an envy of the world. So, these kinds of things certainly have been a product of internal persistent pursuit of high technology with a high level of dedication. I believe, when they express their principled and thoughtful concerns, they were certainly based on the fact that they had gone through a certain process of experience not only in dealing with technological challenges within the country but also in dealing with sanctions which were imposed on them for a long period of time when much of these developments take place. Certainly these scientists deserve all the kudos from us for bringing this technology to this level where the world is watching us with a lot of interest and we are in a position to cooperate on an equal partner basis.
(Contd. by VK/4Y)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (Contd): There is no question of junior-senior partner today in this kind of an area.
There is a need for three phase nuclear cycle. Certainly, we need to maintain it. We need to support it because that is going to be the ultimate route. India has one-third of the total thorium content. Obviously, that will be a major area which needs to be supported. But this is not going to be a simple path. Even though we have schedules for meeting the third phase also, advance heavy water reactors and things of that kind, certainly, it has its own timeframe. So, what is needed currently is to enhance the resources both financial and human and also to create infrastructure, a world-class infrastructure, so that we have an expeditious completion of the three phase programme in the coming decades. I personally feel that the technological link up that we may have with the United States through this agreement and also with other countries, will have its own implications in speeding up even our three phase programme. Even though it is kept outside the overall thing, certainly, it is going to have.
There are a few complementary things which we need to take up.
One is, of course, the agreement with NSG and IAEA which everybody knows. We need to have an expansion in a big way. Obviously, there is need for a major trained manpower. Currently, the level of education in nuclear science and technology, in various universities and other educational institutions and the level of R&D that is going on outside the atomic energy establishment, is of a very limited nature. Obviously, there is a major strengthening that is called for in these programes as we are trying to produce these kinds of reactors within the country and also have a cooperative arrangement. But what is significant is, if we can carry this imaginatively, this can even transform India into a lead centre for nuclear research in the world. International cooperation in science and technology has always served to enrich and accelerate indigenous efforts. In our opinion, no country will let go an opportunity to collaborate or cooperate with another country which has got superior capability or capabilities. The United States with its rich manpower resources, extensive and sophisticated infrastructure, and vibrant programmes has always been a leader in many areas of science and technology. There is no doubt that the present agreement could lead to several beneficial effects to our own progress. This is fully borne out by my own experience in Space. When we bought the INSAT system from the United States, the first generation, we had all the inputs to build the second generation. Today, India operates one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the world. One can see the impact of this kind of collaboration in terms of technological know-how and the ability to go with confidence on the future generation system. The same thing is applicable when you talk of remote sensing system on which India has now a pre-eminent leadership. If you look at all these things, obviously, any arrangement which allows us a linkage with the country of the type of the United States, it makes quite a lot of difference in terms of our ability to pick up several new ideas. In fact, our engineers do not need drawings, books and things of that kind. Good ideas coming through interaction itself can make a lot of difference in the way in which we progress in our country. I think this is something which is not appreciated because it has to be felt and experienced and many of us in Space have experienced this kind of a thing, by not only working with the United States, but with countries like Europe and Russia.
There is no doubt that the US has been behind many problems faced by the Indian Atomic Energy Programme. This does raise a number of issues as to whether India can trust the United States and expect it to behave as a considerate and responsible partner. As a consequence to these Indian perceptions of the US intentions, the country has witnessed heated and passionate debates between the supporters and opponents of the nuclear deal. The history of our dealing with the United States on nuclear issues has also not been particularly reassuring to people who have dealt with a variety of sanctions imposed on Indian scientific and technological establishments. I myself have experienced in the Department of Space several types of sanctions. But, every time, we had a strategy, and, at the same time, we also had relations with the US which circumvented the sanctions. This is a very interesting part of working with that country. In addition to this history of mistrust and misperceptions, nuclear issues are inherently more complex to deal with since they have strategic, economic, technological and political overtones.
These factors should, however, not blind us to the fact that we are living in an increasingly fast changing and inter-dependent world where national interests are also changing in a dynamic way.
(Contd. by 4Z)
DR. K. KASTURIRANGAN (contd.): Over the last 15 years or so, India is also becoming a global power with interests that are no longer confined to our immediate neighbourhood. The continued economic growth also requires a major re-thinking and reassessment of our regional and global priorities. In this changing context, it is necessary that India engages with all major powers including the dominant one, the United States. To run away from such a situation on grounds such as 'the U.S. is an untrustworthy partner' or, 'the U.S. will use its dominant position to derail India's emergence as a global power' indicates an attitude that is not in keeping with a country that aspires to become a global power in the near future. India has to learn to deal with and negotiate with countries such as the United States. The nuclear deal may be the first venture of this kind in the long journey that India will have to undertake as it strives to become a major power of the twenty-first century. Therefore, rather than running away from it, India should seize this opportunity and leverage it for serving its national interest. Development is based on a multidimensional strategy that encompasses several endeavours contributing to the economic growth, social progress and strategic capability. Deals such as this have a crucial role to play in such a strategy. It adds to the countries' strength in several areas, including security. This, in turn, contributes to the country's ability to act independently in dealing with national and international issues, the very essence of the debate that we have been having so far.
The Prime Minister and his negotiating team, including Dr. Anil Kakodkar, must be complimented for their efforts in finalising this Agreement. In my mind, this is truly a major breakthrough in the Indo-U.S. relations. I also believe that this Agreement will have spill-over effects into other high technology domains, and will be the harbinger of a longer lasting and more trustworthy relationship with the United States. This kind of Agreement with the U.S. will also set the trend for similar agreements and relationships with other dominant powers in the world and transform India into a truly global power.
I conclude with a quotation from the speech of Mahatma Gandhi. I quote: "I don't want my house to be walled on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands blown around my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any." Sir, I whole-heartedly support this Bill.
SHRIMATI SUPRIYA SULE (MAHARASHTRA): Sir, I stand before this august house to put forward my party's views, support on the 123 Nuclear Agreement, being negotiated and deliberated, as we debate the same. India today, is on the threshold of achieving greatness as an economic power in the world, when the growth rate is between eight to nine per cent. Comprehensive Agreements, like this, will aid us in this development, while at the same time allowing us to maintain our sovereignty as a nation.
Regarding power generation, enough has been said before. But I would just like to highlight one point that the Government is totally committed to developing indigenous capabilities and technologies to expand the power-generating capacity of our country. The climate change and rising carbon emissions have compelled all of us to look into other avenues and look for environmentally sustainable source of energy, nuclear being one of the major options. The 123 Agreement will open the doors to international civilian nuclear commerce for India. It will not only allow us to source Uranium supplies which are essential for nuclear development, in turn, it will also add additional capacity to meet our short and medium term power requirements through the import of foreign light water reactors.
Historically, our nation has been isolated in the nuclear arena. Time has come; we need to emerge from this isolation and become a part of the mainstream nuclear domain. As Dr. Kasturi Rangan spoke before me, he has talked about all the developed advanced technologies. Time has come where we show to the world the capabilities of the full spectrum of the nuclear fuel cycle activities, which our scientists have achieved. At the same time, we would be free from the arbitrary decisions that were imposed by the NPT and other policies of the Non-proliferation arena. It is pertinent to point out that the international civil nuclear cooperation is only going to enhance our existing indigenous programmes which we are very proud of. It will not only achieve our long-term objectives of energy sustainability but it will also secure and harness our vast Thorium resources through rapid growth of our indigenous programme. (Continued by 5a)
SHRIMATI SUPRIYA SULE (CONTD.): Sir, it is pertinent to go through in brief, the key areas of concern that have been put forth by all the people who have serious concerns on our voting against this deal. The apprehensions are about the protections in the 123 Agreement. There are four points which everybody has discussed so far which are non-interference, fuel supply, termination and safeguards. Sir, I would like to highlight them in short.
The first is non-interference and there are serious concerns about it. Sir, there is a provision in the preamble which clearly indicates that the level of cooperation between India and the United States would be on the basis of, and I quote, "mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit, reciprocity and due respect for each other's nuclear programmes". Similarly, Article 2.4 states, and I quote, "the purpose of the agreement is to provide for peaceful nuclear cooperation and not to affect the un-safeguarded nuclear activities of either Party. This agreement shall be implemented in a manner so as to not hinder or otherwise interfere with any other activities involving the use of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components, information or technology and military nuclear facilities, produced, acquired or developed by them independent of this agreement for their own purposes". Article 12 also explicitly provides that the agreement shall be implemented in a manner as to "avoid hampering or delaying the nuclear activities in the territory of either party, to avoid interference in such activities, to take into account the long-term requirement of the nuclear energy programmes of the parties" and also stipulates that provisions of this agreement shall not be used "to interfere with the nuclear policy or programmes for promotion or peaceful uses of nuclear energy including R&D". Sir, this shows that the Government has taken adequate precaution so see to it that there is no interference in whether it is our civil or nuclear energy programme or research and development or any of our internal matters and in maintaining our sovereignty as a nation.
Sir, secondly, the apprehensions are about fuel supplies. Sir, for us to seek fuel supplies for our indigenous reactors, we need to place our reactors under IAEA safeguards. There are Articles 4 and 5.6. But I shall not get into the details as many of the earlier speakers have mentioned. But I would just like to quote one part of it which reflects that this provision is very crucial. I quote, "the US will create the necessary conditions for India to have assured full access to fuel for its reactors and obtain full access to the international fuel market including reliable uninterrupted continued access of fuel supplies from several nations". It also provides for "US support to an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supplies over a life-time of India's reactors". Despite these arrangements, Article 5.6 further provides, "The US and India would jointly convene a group of friendly supplier countries including Russia, France, UK to pursue such measures that would restore fuel supplies to India".
Sir, the other doubts are regarding termination and right of return. There are a lot of worries about what happens to the nuclear agreement and the components, which is totally covered in Article 14 which says, "India and US are States with advanced nuclear technology which have agreed to assume the same responsibilities and practices and acquire the same benefits and advantages as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technologies". Further Article 14 provides that "the Parties shall consider relevant circumstances". Sir, this would only come up if there is a changed security environment which could affect the national security of either of the nations. This is in regard to the violation of the material which is defined by the Vienna Convention and this level would be when the IAEA board would come into the picture and would really play the role of an arbitrator and see if non-compliance has really taken place. Even after this, if there is complete failure, importance will definitely be given to the uninterrupted operation of the nuclear reactors of both the parties. (Contd. by 5b/tdb)