Home Contact Us  
 
Special Report
The Nuclear Safety Culture in India: Past, Present and Future
Chaitanya Ravi
SR90-Chaitanya.pdf
 

Global, electricity demand is expected to grow by 76% from 2007-20301 resulting in a steep (over 50%) increase in energy related greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power plants in the absence of concerted efforts by governments to transition to cleaner sources. There is talk of a large increase in nuclear capacity worldwide (Nuclear Renaissance)2 to meet the twin challenges of energy security and climate security in an energy starved, carbon constrained world. Electricity generation from nuclear power is projected to increase from about 2.7 trillion kilowatt hours in 2006 to 3.8 trillion kilowatt hours in 20303 with the fastest growth occurring in Asia (average annual rate of 7.8 per cent from 2006 to 2030, including 9.9 percent per year in India). India currently has seventeen Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR’s) with a total installed capacity of 4120 MWe5 thatsupply 3% of its electricity. Recently, Prime Minister Singh projected a seven fold increase in installed capacity to 35000 MWe by the year 2022, and to 60,000 MWe by 2032 at the Nuclear Security Summit.7 Such aggressive expansion targets have been announced in the aftermath of the landmark Indo-U.S nuclear deal that ended the three decade old sanctions regime (imposed after India’s 1974 nuclear test) and enables India to buy nuclear reactors, uranium and dual use technologies on the international market despite its NPT holdout status. Five “Nuclear Energy Parks” housing multiple imported reactor units8 are expected to provide about 40,000- 45,000 MWe. The long term target of the DAE is to supply 25% of India’s electricity by 2050.10 Any substantial increase in nuclear capacity will result in an increase in the number of facilities throughout the fuel cycle having profound implications for nuclear safety. A serious lapse in safety may slow the growth of nuclear power in India. The report begins by examining the recent acrimonious debate over the civil nuclear liability bill and the government’s response to the radiation poisoning caused by Cobalt 60 at Mayapuri in New Delhi to understand the current attitudes and institutional structures affecting nuclear safety in India. The report then chronicles a few key safety related incidents that have occurred at various Indian nuclear facilities in the recent past. The key question that it tries to answer is whether India’s nuclear and radiation policies, institutions and facilities are ready to prevent or respond rapidly to threats ranging from radioactive material in imported scrap to an accident at a nuclear reactor? Finally, some preliminary recommendations are made to sensitize policymakers and civil society to the areas of improvement in current arrangements.


 
 
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.