Wheeling and Dealing
Uday DandavateOctober 13, 2008The nuclear deal is signed by President Bush. It is obvious that after winning thevote of confidence, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Indiaquickly moved towards clearing the U.S.-India Nuclear deal. While the recentpolitical fallout in India over the issue of the nuclear deal, occupied much of themedia space, the issue at the heart of the controversy, how to manage India’senergy needs in long term, has not received adequate scrutiny. Instead, thegovernment has assumed the passing of the vote of confidence as anendorsement of the nuclear deal and is proceeding with next steps.Is nuclear energy the ultimate solution for India’s energy needs? Let us examinewhat Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s interdisciplinary study on "thefuture of nuclear energy,”, has to say on this issue. While recommending that
The Nuclear Option should be retained precisely because it is an importantcarbon-free source of power, the report also cautions against
four potentialdrawbacks: high relative costs, perceived safety hazards, environmental andhealth effects, potential security risks stemming from proliferation, andunresolved challenges in the long-term management of nuclear wastes(MIT2003). The authors of the study emphasized that nuclear power is not theonly non-carbon option and that other options should also be pursued, such asthe use of renewable energy sources, increased efficiency, and carbonsequestration. Dr. John Deutch, a co-chair of this group believes that "Fossil fuel-based electricity is projected to account for more than 40 percent of globalgreenhouse gas emissions by 2020," thereby implying that the urgency for considering alternate energy sources is caused more by environmental reasonsthan by the need to replacing scarce and depleting stocks of nonrenewable fossilfuels.