Is Democracy Thwarting India’s Nuclear Power Ambitions? via The Wall Street Journal

By Megha Bahree

India’s democratic process is changing the country’s nuclear energy program at startling speed.

First it was protests at the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. Now it’s protests at the plant under construction at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, and at practically every site across the country that has been designated for a new power plant. And at most places, people’s concerns about the risks of nuclear power are clashing with the government’s plans to power the country with nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy has been this government’s answer to bridge the chasm of its energy gap. That was the whole rationale for the landmark Indo-U.S. nuclear deal— a significant milestone of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s tenure.

At present India operates 20 nuclear plants that generate 4780 megawatts of electricity, a miniscule 3% or so of the country’s entire output. It has another four under construction, including the plant at Kudankulam whose fate is now unknown, which, if they come on line, will produce an additional 5300 MW.

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