CHURUMURI POLL: Nuclear fuel, the only option?

The carrot dangling at the bottom of the Indo-US nuclear deal is nuclear power. Signing the deal, say its proponents, will give India unbridled access to the latest in civilian nuclear technology, which will go a long way in ending the country’s growing energy woes.

While the Left parties, playing the bad cop, continue to oppose the deal for the stranglehold it fears America will gain, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, playing the good cop, has said that while the cost of nuclear plants and cost of power can be debated, the country cannot avoid nuclear power.

On the other hand, Non-Resident Indian industrialist Swraj Paul has sounded a note of caution on an altogether different front. How much of the country’s energy needs be really be met by nuclear reactors, without making them becoming an attractive target for terrorists, he asks.

Questions: Is nuclear energy the only way forward for India? Can the lax security situation or the terrorism threat be used as an excuse to keep India in darkness, living from power cut to power cut? Is nuclear fuel going to be an inexpensive option in the long run? What are the other options for India to meet its energy needs? Has India explored all those options or is it blindly putting all its eggs in the nuclear basket?