Bharat Karnad Last Updated : 30 Jun 2011 11:48:54 PM IST.
Manmohan Singh has thus jeopardised the country’s strategic nuclear security — because the 1998 thermonuclear test was a dud, absence of further testing will translate into unproven, unreliable, and unsafe fusion weapons and a strategic deterrent lacking in thermonuclear credibility, and ignored the home-grown solution for energy independence, envisaged by Bhabha, based on interlocked first stage pressurised heavy water reactors, second stage breeder reactors (now in the take-off phase), and third stage thorium reactors (the prototype ‘Kamini’ 40MW experimental operating in Kalpakkam, which requires more concept, design, and engineering work and upscaling). Instead, Manmohan Singh’s purchasing 40 foreign reactors worth $150 billion (at today’s dollar value) producing 40,000 MW of electricity by 2050, will at once sustain the nuclear industries in America, France and Russia, and provide Washington the handle to keep India in line. Resumption of testing, say, will prompt immediate cut-off of uranium fuel, resulting in rapid shutdown of foreign reactors and precipitous fall of power in the grid. All this apparently makes sense to our blinkered economist-prime minister.