Did anyone watch the 14th India Today Conclave proceedings possibly broadcast on Headlines Today TV channel March 7? In the session featuring Anne Lauvergeon, chairperson of the French nuclear company Areva, who spoke on whether “India needs nuclear power”, she made the pitch again. In the interaction period I countered that India needs nuclear power, but not unaffordable imported nuclear power, and that having invested in the plutonium fuel cycle to capitalize on the country’s ample thorium reserves through the natural uranium fueled reactors in the first stage (breeder reactors in the 2nd stage and thorium reactors in the final stage articulated in the Bhabha Plan in the 1950s), there’s no justification whatsoever for India to go the enriched uranium route and into energy dependency. These are arguments I made in opposition to the lead-up to the nuclear deal, which centrally hurt the integrity of the Indian nuclear energy program and the surge capacity in the production of fissile material and, hence, of nuclear weapons. Other equally telling arguments were made by the late PK Iyengar, AN Prasad, A. Gopalakrishnan. All together, these were convincing enough to nearly sink the deal in 2008, but for the shenanigans in Parliament pulled by the Congress Party’s Manmohan Singh regime. (All these articles by all of us were collected in the compendium — ‘Strategic Sellout’ and published in 2009 by Pentagon Press. New Delhi.)
Response: Madame Lauvergeon Anne dissimulated — saying this and saying that and not much of anything at all, ending with the clincher — but “India signed the nuclear deal to go forward, so let’s go forward!” Forward into energy captivity!!