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Complexities and Challenges of Nuclear India

Complexities and Challenges of Nuclear India

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Complexities and Challenges of Nuclear India

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505 pagine
6 ore
Pubblicato:
Nov 1, 2014
ISBN:
9789382652847
Formato:
Libro

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Four decades have passed since India conducted its first nuclear test. Since then the world has undergone a transition, both in terms of power dynamics and military warfare. The emergence of New Nuclear and Threshold states has transformed the traditional military warfare, making it more asymmetric. Though the concept of nuclear deterrence in the American strategic thought has diminished, but the Asian countries still consider nuclear weapons as an important strategy in combating conventional weaknesses. This altered strategic space has created problems in the civilian and the military domains. The emergence of economically strong China aiming for military modernization, to achieve global reach through precision missiles, is making Asia edgy. A nuclear Pakistan which is constantly increasing its nuclear stockpile is creating stability-instability paradoxes in Asia. India which is also emerging as a powerful state needs to approach this dynamic shift in a holistic manner. A strategic churning has begun in Asia and whether this will be in India's favour depends on the strategic choices that India adopts. China has revolutionized its Second Artillery through a process of “Informationalisation and Modernisation” and is diversifying the military technology which is having a cascading effect in Asia. Pakistan through its nuclear policy of “First Use”, its alleged use of “Tactical Nuclear Weapons” is making South Asia vulnerable to nuclear terrorism. Under such conditions are there any gaps between India's nuclear doctrine and its force structure? Can India's nuclear strategy counter China? Is India capable of countering a Sino-Pak nexus? These are a few questions along with others which this book will try to unravel.
Pubblicato:
Nov 1, 2014
ISBN:
9789382652847
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Dr (Mrs) Roshan Khanijo is a Senior Research Fellow & Research Coordinator at the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation at the USI. Her academic qualification includes BSc, MA and PhD. She has published a book titled “Complexities and Challenges of Nuclear India” and a Monogram “Iran Nuclear Conundrum”.

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Complexities and Challenges of Nuclear India - Dr. Roshan Khanijo

dreams.

Preface

India’s nuclear journey has always been an area of fascination for me. Whether it was India’s criticism of the NPT, or its overt declaration of becoming a Nuclear Weapon State in 1998, the ambiguity and mystery that has surrounded the development of India’s nuclear strategy, has become the hallmark of India’s nuclear policy. India is one of the few countries, whose leaders clearly understood the implications of the nuclear explosion in 1945. This cataclysmic event had upturned the security paradigms globally and countries were forced to rethink their strategies. Despite spearheading the shift to a Nuclear Age by becoming the first country in Asia to construct a nuclear reactor – namely Apsara, India lost its initial momentum to China. China capitalized this opportunity, provided by the shifting power balance, by becoming a member of the UN Security Council. Moreover, through their systematic modernization process, China now has emerged as a potent force and a key nuclear nation.

Since India adopted the Civilian Nuclear Programme quite early, it becomes necessary to analyse the nuclear issue in a holistic manner. I consider it important to examine and understand the complexities and challenges posed, by the military as well as civilian sector. So, through this book, I am making an attempt to examine both. The feasibility of Thorium reactors, the multi-layered Asian threat, the changing global scenario and the efficacy of India’s nuclear doctrine and its force structure are some issues which require attention. In the civilian sector tracing the rise and progress of the power plants will provide an insight into the energy domain. As such India is going to face the energy crunch due to its depleting coal reserves. Nuclear energy may just try to narrow this gap. The closed nuclear cycle, adopted by the Indian scientists, which has been programmed to function through the use of thorium, needs to be re-examined in order to evaluate its applicability and efficacy. The feasibility of Thorium reactors has been debated worldwide but Indian scientists, however, have been aiming to formalize the three stage nuclear power generation as soon as possible. The sanctions which had been imposed on India, post the nuclear explosion of 1974, were relaxed subsequently, and the Indian nuclear industry revived its nuclear cooperation with other nations like Russia, France, South Korea etc. This was possible due to the Indo-US nuclear deal, which was a significant event in the civilian nuclear history of India, as it had opened the pathway for international cooperation. The nuclear deal should have ideally brought about a revolution in the nuclear industry in India, however, the question that has actually emerged out of this situation is whether India has been able to capitalize the opportunity or not. Researchers find themselves examining the fact that the Civil Liability Act, aimed at advancement, has ended up putting roadblocks on its progress instead. The Liability act, though beneficial in many ways, has also created many controversies. It has created negative publicity as far as investors are concerned, and foreign vendors remain reluctant to accept the act in totality.

The Fukushima disaster has brought the issues of nuclear safety and security to the forefront. There has been a lot of debate, regarding the emergency preparedness of India’s growing nuclear power plants. It has been suggested, that an Independent Regulatory Body that would serve as a watchdog, is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of the nuclear power plants. The need, for such an autonomous body has resurfaced once again due to growing doubts regarding the neutrality of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Body (AERB). Hence; all these issues need to be addressed in entirety. I have made an attempt, therefore, to research and analyse the civilian sector and understand the broad workings of this sector. The shortage of conventional energy sources - especially the depleting coal reserves - in conjunction with the reduced output of thermal power plants, has forced India to examine alternative sources of energy. Nuclear energy has the potential to grow, and help in mitigating the energy crisis that India is facing, provided high nuclear safety and security standards are maintained.

Post the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, India is concerned about the intentions of China. The intermittent unapologetic border stand-offs and Chinas modernization of its nuclear weaponry - especially its missile inventory - remains a cause of concern. The nuclear missile race in Asia is causing geostrategic imbalance. Historically, with the disintegration of USSR, India was forced to rethink its strategic calculus. The emergence of China as an economic giant later on has reshaped the global power nexus. Hence there is a need to reassess the Indian position vis-à-vis this dramatic shift. Therefore, before understanding India’s nuclear policies, it is essential to perform a thorough environmental scan.

The environment post the Cold War, is very different, and the key factor now is the emergence of a major power shift, from Europe to Asia. This in turn has transformed the theory of warfare. Now more asymmetric methods of warfare are adopted by countries especially in Asia. Also for nations in Asia Nuclear Weapon is the central theme, in their strategic calculus, to maintain their territorial sovereignty. However; West, headed by America, have tried to downplay the importance of nuclear weapons, and their reliance on precession guided conventional weapons is a major policy changer for many Western countries. This difference in the strategic perception needs to be examined and evaluated. Additionally, nuclear deterrence has always been central to Asia. Whether it was direct or extended deterrence, nuclear deterrence has always had the potential to change the power nexus. Hence; any change in the present status quo, could wreak devastating effects on the precarious stability of the Asian subcontinent.

The 21st century has brought another type of warfare to the forefront, the genesis of which lies in the asymmetric warfare adopted by Pakistan. Pakistan has always competed with India, its inherent insecurity often carried due to the baggage of history, has created instability in South Asia. India cannot ignore Pakistan due to the geographical proximity of both the nations. The latter’s incessant nuclear competition, its growing nuclear arsenal and the fissile material production units, and its volatile intentions aimed at deploying tactical nuclear weapons, are cumulatively lowering the threshold in Asia. Pakistans offensive nuclear doctrine and its ever increasing red lines are escalating nuclear brinkmanship. The vindictive role of Non State Actors (NSAs), (trained in Pakistani soil), serve to make South Asia as a whole, (not just India) vulnerable to nuclear terrorism. The dangerous clouds of Dirty Bombs loom large in this region and remain a constant source of threat. Moreover, with the increasing number of covert and overt New Nuclear Weapons States (NNWS), nuclear material theft, sabotage and cyber-crimes, are other grave security issues that need to be addressed. Over and above this boiling pot of volatility, the growing bonhomie of Pakistan and China makes India vulnerable to a collusive Sino-Pak threat that India will find it difficult to fend off, without grave losses.

Is India’s Nuclear Doctrine good enough to deal with an increasingly offensive Pakistan? Or the debates to change India’s No First Use policy (which is considered as an impediment in India’s nuclear strategy as far as China is concerned) justified? Is India’s nuclear doctrine compatible with India’s force structure? Or are there strategic gaps that India needs to address promptly, to ensure efficient development of its nuclear policy? An attempt has been made to examine and analyse some of these issues through the course of this book.

On the positive side one must remember, that India has also emerged as a major power in Asia. India’s economic growth and its immense markets, make India a major attraction for foreign investors. Therefore, India should engage constructively with other nations, and judiciously use its resources, to shape the world to its advantage. India’s future will depend on answering all these questions and implementing the resultant requirements satisfactorily. Therefore; a detailed analysis of India’s doctrine and policy has become even more essential now than ever. India’s compulsions, its challenges and complexities need to be studied in a logical and impartial manner. My attempt through this book has been to analyse the challenges faced by a nuclear India in a holistic way taking into account the shifting global paradigms. The coming years are going to be crucial for India and the policies and strategies adopted by the policy makers will impact India’s present and future, and in the bargain impact the geo-politics of this region as well. Through this journey, I have tried to impartially analyse India’s position vis-à-vis the nuclear process, in an attempt to examine it, scrutinize it and analyse the bearing it could have on India’s future.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the United Service Institution of India (USI) for giving me the opportunity to write this book. The supportive academic environment, the international seminars, the illuminating interaction with foreign and Indian think tanks through various bilateral and multilateral platforms has helped me in enhancing and widening my horizons. I would especially like to thank Lieutenant General P K Singh PVSM, AVSM, (Retd), Director USI, for helping me analyse the issue logically in a structured manner by providing me with new insights through discussions and suggestions. I would also like to thank him for providing me with important references, which has helped in organizing and shaping the book.

My Sincere gratitude to Major General YK Gera (Retd), Consultant and Head (Research), Center for Strategic Studies and Simulation (CS3), for the constant encouragement and informative discussions. He has always been there to prod me in the right direction whenever I have encountered a conundrum or a quandary. His support and encouragement has been invaluable.

I would like to thank Major General B.K Sharma, AVSM, SM** (Retd) for his inputs on China. His expertise on Net Assessment and the candid discussions which I had with him, enriched my knowledge.

I would also like to mention that I remain indebted to all my fellow research scholars for their comments, suggestions and opinions that have helped me fine tune the rough edges of the book. The conducive and friendly environment of CS3 is certainly a great motivational factor that helped immensely during the creation of this book. I would like to thank Brig Amar Cheema (Retd), Col N P S Bisht and Capt. Sandeep Dewan for their invaluable inputs on China, and Professor Nirmala Joshi for giving me an insight on Russia.

I would sincerely like to thank all the people whose comments and suggestions in the aftermath of my various presentations have helped me fine tune and improve upon my initial drafts. I would also like to thank Air Marshal T M Asthana PVSM, AVSM, VSM, (Retd) for his constant support. His careful scrutiny of the chapters in this book, and his subsequent suggestions, has been truly invaluable. My sincerest thanks to Lt Gen B S Nagal, PVSM, AVSM, SM (Retd) as well, for his timely comments and recommendations.

I would also like to thank the entire Library staff of USI for their help in providing me with rare books, obscure journals and unique reference materials promptly without a single complaint. Their silent encouragement has been extremely helpful.

Lastly this book would not have been possible without the help of my daughter, Natallia, whose constant encouragement during my weaker moments of frustration and her editorial assistance have truly aided me in completing this book. I am truly indebted to her for all her support. I would like to give my heartfelt gratitude to my husband, Alok, who has always encouraged me to push my limits, and has been my pillar of strength. I would take this opportunity to thank my parents, who provided me with the opening to follow a field of my choice. From them I have learnt how to stay strong during adversities. I would especially like to dedicate this book to my father, and I hope that in some small capacity, I have managed to make him proud.

List of Abbreviations

1      Introduction

The war of the future, would be one in which man could extinguish millions of lives at one blow, demolish the great cities of the world, wipe out the cultural achievements of the past—and destroy the very structure of a civilization that has been slowly and painfully built up through hundreds of generations.¹

The Manhattan Project, introduced the world to a Nuclear Age, and the twin bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the dreadful result. This atomic bomb, was more than a weapon of terrible destruction, it became a psychological weapon². In a single stroke, the Americans had upset the strategic balance. They further tested a new type of bomb in 1952 the H-bomb, (thousand times more lethal than the nuclear bomb), and established the second great step of the nuclear Age³. In the past, history had testified to the fact that nations continuously work to create a balance of power, so that the war could be avoided. Hence in the twentieth century the nations in order to regain global strategic stability began coveting this technology, which led to a nuclear cataclysm and brought a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). The shadow of this lethal bomb governed the strategic and tactical temperament of countries world over and created Nuclear Competition. The nations realised that Atomic wars could be instrument of force without war⁴. This was qualitatively different than anybody had ever anticipated before, and the deterrence theory became more relevant. As deterrence precludes war, therefore nuclear weapons became the means to extend that deterrence and avoid engaging in full-fledged warfare. According to the theory of deterrence, the threat of using nuclear weapons prevents the adversary from using the same weapons due to the level of damage that can be caused for both sides. Hence, a stage of Nash Equilibrium is reached, through which both the sides try to maintain stability and balance. On the other hand the nations were in a rat race to acquire superior technology, resulting in technological innovations and more sophistication of warheads. This growing technological competence has transformed the strategic concepts too and emerging jargon such as Mutually Assured Deterrence, Flexible Response No First Use etc, has become a part of the nuclear vocabulary.

It was believed initially that an era of nuclear deterrence would bring peace. The renowned nuclear strategist Bernard Brodie wrote Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars. From now on its chief purpose must be to avert them. It can have almost no other useful purpose.⁵ The Cold War gave legitimacy to nuclear deterrence. However; The Korean War, the Berlin Blockade and the Cuban missile crisis, amplified the nuclear threat. Despite the escalation, the destructive power of nuclear weapons acted as a moderator and ensured that the then super powers USA and the erstwhile USSR, treaded with caution, thereby creating a stability which lasted many decades.

The era post the Cold War saw the emergence of New Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) and ultimately the dispersal of nuclear weapons. This altered the strategic space again as more nations were embroiled in this lethal arms race. The Five Permanent nations (P5) of the United Nations were no longer the sole custodians of the nuclear weapon. The rise of NNWS, the Threshold Nuclear States (TNS) and the Clandestine Nuclear Weapon States (CNWS) has lowered the nuclear threshold since then. The primary reason for this nuclear expansion was, that although the Cold War had witnessed a period of nuclear brinkmanship and nuclear détente, it could not contain the nuclear genie. Even the various nuclear disarmament treaties could not prevent the expansion of nuclear weapons and gradually, this nuclear proliferation became widespread. The Asian continent was the most affected as most of the emerging Nuclear Weapon States both covert and overt happened to be from Asia.

The Cold War concept of nuclear deterrence has changed and ideas like Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) have been diluted. It was widely deliberated that for deterrence to be realistic, it was essential for nuclear weapons to survive the shock or surprise attack. Hence newer concepts such as survivability, second strike, punitive attack, etc. developed. The doctrinal changes tested the military build-up and the dyad got transformed into a triad. Some nations with geographical and conventional weaknesses as well as financial constraints found it difficult to counter conventional challenges and so (nations like Pakistan for example) opted for offensive nuclear doctrines such as the First Use, while developing Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW) as offensive weapons to be used as counter force in a limited and controlled battlefield situation. They borrowed this concept from the NATO countries, despite the fact that the NATO countries themselves had abandoned it, as they found it unworkable due to difficulties in controlling the escalated threat levels. Nevertheless, this has been revived by Asian nations thus reaffirming the prominence of nuclear weapons in their strategic thought. Along with this, innovative doctrinal concepts are guiding the nuclear inventories and nations are researching to develop the nuances of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. They are tiresomely working to acquire a technological edge. Modern guidance systems, the revolution in accuracy and sensors, ballistic missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, intelligence surveillance-and-reconnaissance systems, offensive cyber warfare, conventional precision strike, and long range precision strike, in addition to nuclear strike capabilities are significant components of modern day warfare.

The Stability -Instability Paradox

The strategic significance of nuclear weapons in providing nuclear deterrence in Asia has often been debated due to the change in the nature of warfare. The advent of low- intensity warfare or the asymmetric method has led to this stability - instability paradox.

It is often believed that when two nations have nuclear weapons, they try to avoid each other directly, thereby averting the possibility of a direct encounter. However, this does not prevent them from adopting indirect proxy wars, through the state sponsored Non State Actors (NSA). In simpler terms, the characteristic feature of 21st century warfare has been Terrorism and nuclear weapons cannot provide strategic stability here. However; there is also a counter argument to this premise which states that the fact that low intensity was maintained during the standoffs and the conflict was not allowed to escalate to a full-fledged nuclear exchange, was simply due to the concept of nuclear deterrence, and so while it may have provided instability at a lower level, it has continued to make South Asia stable at a higher level. The discussions and debates about the nuclear age may continue, but the fact remains that there has emerged a clear divide in the perception of nations regarding the utility of nuclear weapons.

Conventional verses Nuclear Deterrence

Some of the P5 nations, particularly US, France and Great Britain have decreased their reliance on nuclear weapons and for them the utility of nuclear weapons have greatly diminished, this can be primarily due to the diminishing of nuclear threat scenarios in Europe and secondly due to the increased sophistication of their conventional precision guided systems. This in turn has also revived the efficacy of conventional weapons in the western thought process. But for Russia, China and other nuclear nations in Asia, the threat perception is different. This is due to entwined security interests whereby any increase in the nuclear weapons will have a cascading effect in the entire region. China has slowly modernized and increased the range and precision of its nuclear triad. This aggressive posture becomes a threat for everyone, and is also, therefore, creating complications in the bilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations between Russia and US. Russia would prefer a multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty where China is also an active signatory. The future of nuclear disarmament, therefore, rests on a thin string, and a lot depends on the initiatives taken by China. If China remains adamant about its position and refuses to decrease its nuclear weapons on the pretext that the Americans and the Russia should decrease their nuclear arsenal to Chinas level, then there are chances that the current nuclear stalemate will continue, which can have a potentially damaging effect in Asia. Since most of the New Nuclear Weapon States and Threshold States are in Asia, any belligerence from China will disrupt the strategic balance and lead to an upsurge in the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear deterrence has already become more buoyant in Asia as many nations with a weak conventional arsenal, consider their repertoire of nuclear weapons as a counter measure to maintain strategic balance within the area. In Asia with the rise of China the balance of power is shifting, and in the process, it is also testing the influence of US in Asia. The US alliance system in Asia is at its lowest point. China’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the Senkaku Island standoff in the East China Sea is considered as an aggressive strategy, aimed at testing the extended deterrence in the region. If this continues, then Asia may see the rise of few more New Nuclear Weapon States such as Japan and South Korea.

India’s Dilemma

India is also emerging as a major power and the rise of both China and India will test the global system. This economic resurgence will influence military and foreign relations, and may lead to a system of alliances and partnerships. A strategic churning has begun in Asia. Whether it will be in India’s favour or not depends on the strategic choices that India adopts, and to understand these choices, it is essential to scrutinize the global environment more thoroughly. The external factors impact the internal dynamics of the nation state and vice versa. Therefore; to get a holistic view of the situation, it is imperative to analyse both situations together. Historically nuclear weapons have played a key role in defining a country’s security policy. They have been developed for various reasons and this may vary from being developed for deterrence purposes to being used as a currency to power.

India’s tryst with the atomic bomb is as old as the bomb itself. India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Nehru understood the implications of a nuclear test early on, and he along with India’s eminent physicist, Dr. Homi Jahangir Bhabha charted India’s nuclear destiny. For India nuclear weapons were not a choice but necessary deterrence tools and remain so till now. The Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 had scarred India and the nuclear test by China in 1964 aggravated the security risks. Being flanked by a nuclear neighbour was a dangerous proposition because unlike Pakistan who was a member of CENTO, SEATO, India was not a member of any multilateral alliance systems and hence had to rely on its own resources. India was and continues to be a champion of universal nuclear disarmament. India’s Rajeev Gandhi Action Plan for Nuclear Weapon Free and Non-Violent World Order depicts India’s thoughts about nuclear disarmament, but India is against discrimination of any kind. Until all nations take the pledge to disarm their nuclear arsenal, a Nuclear Zero cannot be achieved and so until global disarmament becomes a possibility India will be forced to maintain its nuclear arsenal.

The Sino-Pak friendship and Chinese support to Pakistan’s nuclear programme has resulted in the birth of another nuclear nation in Asia namely Pakistan. Pakistan has always stated that its nuclear policy is in retaliation to India’s nuclear programme, whereas India has repeatedly mentioned that it has never considered Pakistan as its nuclear adversary. Pakistan’s support to terrorist organizations, its incessant growth of nuclear fissile material production units, its aggressive nuclear doctrine and its persistent efforts to escalate the tension in the region and its progress along the nuclear ladder has made Asia vulnerable to nuclear brinkmanship. The Pakistani strategy of developing Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW) has threatened not only India, but the entire Asian continent as well, since the probability of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons has increased. Terrorists are guided by ideology and with the mushrooming of suicide bombers, geographical barriers have no meaning anymore. Therefore all the states are at risk from this menace, and until the source is targeted this disease cannot be eradicated.

Atom for Peace

Along with the military usage of nuclear material, a parallel concept the Atom for Peace programme in the civilian sector was introduced by the American President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his speech to the UN General Assembly in 1953. This got rid of the secrecy that was generally associated with nuclear technology. Today there are nearly thirty countries that are actively involved in the civilian nuclear programme. There are some 435 nuclear power reactors operating in 31 countries plus Taiwan, with a combined capacity of over 370 GWe.⁶ In 2011, these reactors provided 2518 billion KWh; about 13.5 per cent of the world’s electricity and over 60 power reactors are currently being constructed in 13 countries plus Taiwan which means that 64,978 tonnes of Uranium would be required to achieve the target.⁷ Uranium is the common denominator in both the civilian as well as the military equation. This nuclear fissile material is an important component for civilian as well as military reactors. The presence of large stockpiles of uranium is hazardous since the civilian uranium could be diverted for making nuclear weapons. Like the two sides of a coin, nuclear energy can be used either for generating power and enriching human life or for producing nuclear weapons which can annihilate the human race. The choice to create or destroy is a major decision that has global repercussions and every country has a universal moral obligation to think of the greater good, before their own state related issues. It will be the responsibility of every nation to cooperate in providing global nuclear safety and security standards for the world. The transparency, surveillance and monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Associations (IAEA) is an important effort to control the misuse of nuclear materials. The mandates laid by the International associations should be followed universally and without any discrimination. In other words, it is the responsibility of P5 nations as well as declared Nuclear Weapon States to open their civilian and military nuclear power plants for IAEA supervision. This is only possible when nations agree to work together to eliminate nuclear weapons in a phased manner and create a non-violent world order. While such an image is undoubtedly a Utopian concept, its applicability depends on the sharp decision making of the major powers, which can set precedents, for other nations to follow.

Complexities and Challenges of Nuclear India

India’s nuclear journey began in 1948 when the Atomic Energy Act was passed. The first successful step took place in 1956 when Apsara became the first nuclear research reactor to get operationalised in Asia. Since then considerable changes have taken place, not only in India’s internal environment but also in the global nuclear environment as a whole. While there have been phenomenal technological advancements in the military sector, the civilian sector has been marred with safety and security dilemmas. This book has been divided into two sections. The first part deals with the civilian nuclear sector and the second part deals with the military use of nuclear weapons. The focus through this book has been to highlight the changing dynamics of the global nuclear structure with special reference to India and its Asian Neighbours’. I have therefore; provided a brief overview of the civilian nuclear programme in order to provide a context for the subsequent analysis.

The Civilian Nuclear Challenge

The first part charts the development of the Civilian Nuclear Energy Programme. It begins with the origin of nuclear energy and then attempts to assess the major aspects of the Indian nuclear programme. In the past few years, India’s energy requirements have grown exponentially with growing economic resurgence. There has been an imbalance in the demand and supply ratio in the energy sector. The conventional sources of energy have been unable to match the growing demands of the industries. The prospect of nuclear energy as a clean source of energy has emerged as an alternative to the already depleting non - renewable resources such as coal and natural gas. The government has gone all out to harness this resource, but there are challenges and complexities in using nuclear energy as an alternative source for generating electricity. Sub chapters I and II deal with these aspects in detail. At the beginning of its nuclear journey, India had adopted a three stage nuclear programme due to the presence of large resources of thorium. India’s first commercial fast breeder reactor, the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), is scheduled to become critical in September 2014. However, critics world over are apprehensive about this technology. It is essential to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of this technology. Along with the analysis of the reactor, one also needs to analyse the feasibility and constraints that thorium as an alternate fuel, poses.

The Indian government has projected a target of installing about 20 GWe nuclear power plants by the year 2020 and it aims to supply 25 per cent of the total electricity through nuclear power by 2050. In continuing with this ambitious plan it wants to create Nuclear Energy Parks.⁸ All these projections steer us to the most important question that concerns the Safety and Security of these nuclear power plants. Hence sub chapter III deals with the Nuclear Safety and Security. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is responsible for the regulation, licensing and safety inspection of all the nuclear facilities, but this body is not an Independent Statutory Authority. It comes under the Atomic Energy Commission. After lot of deliberations in April 2011, the government announced that it would set up a new

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