Indian Nuclear News & Discussion - 28 Jul 2007

Ananth
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Postby Ananth » 31 Jul 2007 02:20

ldev wrote:
Ananth wrote:My concerns are based on the assumption that fuel from safeguarded reproc facility can only be used in safeguarded reactors and not in unsafeguarded plants.


Your assumption is wrong. In fact it is the exact opposite. If you also study as to what fuel is needed in what kind of nuclear plant i.e. PHWR, FBR, AHWR, LWR etc. and which component of that needs to be imported, you will realize the underlying logic of the 123 agreement.


You mean to say that fuel from safeguarded reprocessing facility can be used in unsafeguarded plants. My basis for assertion was the J18/M3 agreement which firewalls any traffic between the safeguarded and unsafeguarded facilities. On which basis are you make the above assertion? If what you say is true, then there is no problem.

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Postby Rye » 31 Jul 2007 02:29

If Thorium is used in a nuke reactor and it absorbs neutrons from safeguarded fuel, does the resulting enriched thorium end up in the "IAEA safeguarded fuel" bucket or the unsafeguarded bucket? To my untrained eye, it appears that the answer is the latter, which should be okay.

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Postby ldev » 31 Jul 2007 02:39

Ananth wrote:You mean to say that fuel from safeguarded reprocessing facility can be used in unsafeguarded plants. My basis for assertion was the J18/M3 agreement which firewalls any traffic between the safeguarded and unsafeguarded facilities. On which basis are you make the above assertion? If what you say is true, then there is no problem.


If India uses domestically produced plutonium as the driver fuel in the AHWR fuel bundles the resultant spent fuel will stay unsafeguarded. If India on the other hand uses imported plutonium as driver fuel, then the spent fuel will be safeguarded. In the first case reprocessing of the U-233 will be done in an unsafeguarded facility, in the latter it will be done in the IAEA supervised facility. The entire purpose of this agreement is to overcome India's lack of domestic uranium from which up until now, India would have to produce the driver fuels for the third stage (albeit accelerating the process via using FBRs in the second stage). Now that imported uranium will be available, why should India divert its restricted domestic supply into a IAEA supervised loop from which there is no escape.

PS: Actually, India would have to declare a plant as civilian and subject to safeguards before any imported fuel can be used there. And that declaration is nonchangeable.
Last edited by ldev on 31 Jul 2007 02:46, edited 1 time in total.

Ananth
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Postby Ananth » 31 Jul 2007 02:39

Rye wrote:If Thorium is used in a nuke reactor and it absorbs neutrons from safeguarded fuel, does the resulting enriched thorium end up in the "IAEA safeguarded fuel" bucket or the unsafeguarded bucket? To my untrained eye, it appears that the answer is the latter, which should be okay.


Rye,

That is the problem. Due to unavailability of the text, we don't know how "fuel" or "american orgin fuel" is interpreted. In the last thread, I asked a similar question: "Would a reactor in which only one nut was imported from america be considered to produce american origin spent fuel". Considering NPAs, there is no limit to their colorful interpretations. Therefore I said, we must also be ready with colorful interpretations of 123 agreement.

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Postby Sanjay M » 31 Jul 2007 02:46

More than merely dancing around each other with colourful interpretations, India has to be able to create a strategic fuel reserve. Then they can colourfully interpret as much as they like, but they won't have the teeth to back up their interpretations.

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Postby Mort Walker » 31 Jul 2007 02:47

The way I would interpret the 123 Agreement is that ANY facility which has assistance from any of the NSG members is subject to IAEA inspection. For example, if a Kazakh janitorial company was contracted to take out the trash from a facility, then its subject to IAEA inspection.

What is really disturbing is that the agreement has not been made public yet by the US or Indian side.

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Postby putnanja » 31 Jul 2007 02:48

Since AHWRs can use driver fuel from IAEA safeguarded facility, does it mean FBRs are no longer required for India? Using fuel from safe-guarded facility in AHWR means that AHWR will be part of civilian reactors and not strategic reactors?

As far a I understand, the FBRs were to be used in 2nd stage so that the fuel produced in it can be used as driver fuel in AHWR which uses Th, and hence India would be self-sufficient in the long run. But with the assured supplies now for 3rd stage, we don't have to invest in 2nd stage now. The only caveat being that AHWR will be on the civilian side.

Is this interpretation correct?

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Postby ldev » 31 Jul 2007 02:51

RaviBg wrote:Is this interpretation correct?


That is exactly my interpretation. Unless India wants to build up a driver fuel reserve for an uncertain future in which fuel supplies may be interrupted from overseas.

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Postby Ananth » 31 Jul 2007 03:06

ldev wrote:If India uses domestically produced plutonium as the driver fuel in the AHWR fuel bundles the resultant spent fuel will stay unsafeguarded. If India on the other hand uses imported plutonium as driver fuel, then the spent fuel will be safeguarded. In the first case reprocessing of the U-233 will be done in an unsafeguarded facility, in the latter it will be done in the IAEA supervised facility. The entire purpose of this agreement is to overcome India's lack of domestic uranium from which up until now, India would have to produce the driver fuels for the third stage (albeit accelerating the process via using FBRs in the second stage).


What is imported Pu? Is it the Pu reprocessed outside India or are you also including Pu produced as a byproduct in spent fuel of 1st stage from imported U.

The question is what about the spent fuel from the safeguarded LWR and other 3/4th gen reactors coming up? They are most likely to use imported U. What will be the status of the Pu from those safeguarded reactors after they are reprocessed at a safeguarded reprocessing facility. Can we use it to burn in our unsafeguarded AHWRs or FBRs?

Now that imported uranium will be available, why should India divert its restricted domestic supply into a IAEA supervised loop from which there is no escape.


That is an obvious no-no. Our indigenous cycle will go on its independent track. The point is with respect to additionality as AK referred to these imported reactors + fuel. Can we import U, burn it in safeguarded reactor, process spent fuel in safeguarded facility and use the Pu from that facility in our unsafeguarded AHWRs as additionality?

On a related issue, if my assumptions are correct, then how would the situation be any different from Tarapur. In TAPPs 1/2, we are not allowed to process the spent fuel, here we are allowed to process the spent fuel, but not allowed to use them in our unsafeguarded AHWRs/FBRs, unless we open them, which we are reluctant to do atleast in medium term. What will we do after process and get Pu out of. Warm our hands with it :) Babus wont like it in the first place. That indicates to me what you are saying might be true, i.e. my assumption is incorrect. We can use Pu from safeguarded reprocessing facility in our unsafeguarded fuel cycle.

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Postby Mort Walker » 31 Jul 2007 03:12

The NPA Jefferey Lewis is at it again. This time he makes a hulabaloo out of the word "prior".

http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/

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Postby ldev » 31 Jul 2007 03:22

Ananth wrote:[What is imported Pu? Is it the Pu reprocessed outside India or are you also including Pu produced as a byproduct in spent fuel of 1st stage from imported U.


Both.

The question is what about the spent fuel from the safeguarded LWR and other 3/4th gen reactors coming up? They are most likely to use imported U. What will be the status of the Pu from those safeguarded reactors after they are reprocessed at a safeguarded reprocessing facility. Can we use it to burn in our unsafeguarded AHWRs or FBRs?


No, it cannot be used in any unsafeguarded facility. I doubt whether any AHWRs will be unsafeguarded.


Can we import U, burn it in safeguarded reactor, process spent fuel in safeguarded facility and use the Pu from that facility in our unsafeguarded AHWRs as additionality?


No, answer same as above.

On a related issue, if my assumptions are correct, then how would the situation be any different from Tarapur. In TAPPs 1/2, we are not allowed to process the spent fuel, here we are allowed to process the spent fuel, but not allowed to use them in our unsafeguarded AHWRs/FBRs, unless we open them, which we are reluctant to do atleast in medium term. What will we do after process and get Pu out of. Warm our hands with it :) Babus wont like it in the first place. That indicates to me what you are saying might be true, i.e. my assumption is incorrect. We can use Pu from safeguarded reprocessing facility in our unsafeguarded fuel cycle.


I am sure that DAE has worked out fuel flows and cycles in the light of the separation plan as well as reprocessing capacities needed to minimize storage of spent fuel. In that sense India has a definite advantage as scarcity has propelled India to forge ahead on reprocessing technology. Most western spent fuel is stored till eternity due to cost considerations. But the rate at which uranium prices have increased may change that equation in the future.

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Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jul 2007 03:27

Ananth wrote: We can use Pu from safeguarded reprocessing facility in our unsafeguarded fuel cycle.
If this is true, then how does it become a separate fuel cycle? Maybe this is a technical question? Are there technical limitations to further reprocessing of fuel coming out of the safeguarded facility? If not, then, what stops India from using that fuel for other purposes? Surely, the Americans have not left it to the good faith of the Indians, have they?

Arun_S your nuclear hat is needed here to bring some clarity. TIA.

Added: OK, Idev has clarified. Thanks.

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Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jul 2007 03:32

ldev wrote: I doubt whether any AHWRs will be unsafeguarded.
Have to lookup the separation plan but I thought the planned AHWR was to be unsafeguarded. In the future, who knows, let us enjoy till the FMCT comes in.

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Postby ldev » 31 Jul 2007 03:44

ShauryaT wrote: Have to lookup the separation plan but I thought the planned AHWR was to be unsafeguarded. In the future, who knows, let us enjoy till the FMCT comes in.


The entire purpose of the AHWR is to utilize India's huge reserves of thorium. Unfortunately thorium is not fissile and needs a driver i.e. something which is fissile. To unlock the energy in India's thorium reserves within the life of this generation, driver fuel based on imported uranium/plutonium will be needed. Therefore it is logical to place AHWRs under safeguards. In any event, ultimately the AHWR produces U-233. If India wants U-233, there are other more direct and faster ways of getting it.

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Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jul 2007 03:56

ldev wrote:
ShauryaT wrote: Have to lookup the separation plan but I thought the planned AHWR was to be unsafeguarded. In the future, who knows, let us enjoy till the FMCT comes in.


The entire purpose of the AHWR is to utilize India's huge reserves of thorium. Unfortunately thorium is not fissile and needs a driver i.e. something which is fissile. To unlock the energy in India's thorium reserves within the life of this generation, driver fuel based on imported uranium/plutonium will be needed. Therefore it is logical to place AHWRs under safeguards. In any event, ultimately the AHWR produces U-233. If India wants U-233, there are other more direct and faster ways of getting it.
Idev: Does someone have calculations, to indicate that, if only, LWR and PHWR are fueled from imported material, can India afford to fuel the AHWR, exclusively through domestic sources, if yes, for how much time?

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Postby ldev » 31 Jul 2007 04:07

ShauryaT wrote:Idev: Does someone have calculations, to indicate that, if only, LWR and PHWR are fueled from imported material, can India afford to fuel the AHWR, exclusively through domestic sources, if yes, for how much time?


Look at page 1 of this thread and the answer I got from Arun_S on Pu consumption for each AHWR. Then consider that number is for 1X300MW reactor. Also look at the amount of reactor grade Pu produced from each unsafeguarded PHWR. Its not a very high number in terms of MWs that India will be able to add immediately. That is why in the original plan, the FBRs were so critical to try and accelerate the process. But even under that scenario, look at DAE's plan of adding 20,000MW over what period of time.

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 31 Jul 2007 05:06

The whole deal can b summarized as follows:

Present: India has shortage of uranium because of lack of refining/enrichment facilities, and low production rate. Demand for power and demand for bum Pu compete, and there isn't enough production to meet demand in the near term. Vicious circle: Power plants can't be built because no investment capital, no investment because no power available for industry. No reactors can be built because there ain't enough fuel, and anyway recent technology is denied to India.

Future:

Pretty recent-tech reactors are going to get built using foreign investment, and foreign-supplied fuel, which leaves domestic supply for existing/ future Protected reactors ("Protected" means from foreign intrusive inspections).


Win-win. You break through the investment crunch, you break through the power crunch, and - hello!!! technology will be made available to India, and will most definitely help ***ALL*** parts of the Indian nuclear establishment.

Of course, the foreign-supplied fuel must stay in the foreign-funded new plants.

Let me explain it another way. Think of a situation where you can't keep ur house clean or ur lawn mowed and hedges trimmed because u r too busy, if you take time out to clean and mow and trim, u can't get enough work done to do ur job....

and then u find this nice agency that, for a small fee, sends a maid and a boy and a goat. The maid to clean, the boy to mow, the goat to eat the hedge. Complete solution. Win-win.



****HOW***** is this being twisted into all this

:(( :(( ???????????????

Your :(( is that at the end of the day, the maid and boy and goat have to go home, and you don't get to bugger the boy, eat the goat, or ***** the maid.

IN WHAT WAY are u worse off than b4? In what way have you lost ur independence? You can still keep ur playroom locked up and sit there in ur underwear, or totally debriefed, and keep the place looking like a pigsty, and with ur thumb up .. (never mind..) and watch TV and swill beer all day.

AllahoAkbar! Count on the Kufr to extract defeat from the jaws of victory and find some way to bawl. Speaking of which, I hope India manages to reach 75 before the 9th wicket falls, because Sreesanth is not exactly in form at anything except sulking. :((

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Postby ldev » 31 Jul 2007 05:24

enqyoob wrote:IN WHAT WAY are u worse off than b4? In what way have you lost ur independence? You can still keep ur playroom locked up and sit there in ur underwear, or totally debriefed, and keep the place looking like a pigsty, and with ur thumb up .. (never mind..) and watch TV and swill beer all day.

AllahoAkbar! Count on the Kufr to extract defeat from the jaws of victory and find some way to bawl.


:lol: By the way the energizer bunnies (your copyright!) need charging. Not that I am complaining.

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 31 Jul 2007 06:05

The EBs are desperately looking for "sell-outs", unable to face the truth that the much-dissed UPA/Commie GOI seems to have out-bania'd the best of the banias. The :(( :(( "Op-Ed" in the "Pioneer" is a disgrace to any self-respecting Hindootva Fascistva. What a bunch of whining ninnies!

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Postby Rye » 31 Jul 2007 06:39

Going back through some of the articles on AHWR and other links, the separation of military and civilian facilities (with the latter defined as coming under the purview of the IAEA) directly translates to future and present facilities, respectively. The military facilities will give rise to power plants that will use thorium and create the fuel cycle that is outside the purview of IAEA. The foreign plants will use foreign fuel and be a completely insulated "civilian" fuel cycle, with the "prior consent" to reprocess this fuel under IAEA supervision, if such consent is granted by the fuel supplier. Since India is going to negotiate with the NSG with this "prior consent" language (as opposed to the Hyde act), does this leave the door open for India to get prior consent from other NSG states? Otherwise, why all this NPA bowel irritation w.r.t. 123? (From the Armcontrolwonk.com whine by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis)


http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/89552.htm

http://meaindia.nic.in/pressrelease/2007/07/27pr01.htm

A letter from the NPAs to the US congress from two months ago (probably posted already).

http://www.armscontrol.org/pdf/20070515 ... 3House.pdf

Towards the end of this doc, on page 3

has not assumed the obligations of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and has not agreed to permanent safeguards for any of its reprocessing and enrichment facilities, nor even its plutonium-producing fast breeder reactors—which can be used to make nuclear bomb material.


Congress also preserved a requirement for U.S. consent for the reprocessing or alteration in form or content of nuclear material subject to U.S. agreements. (See: Section 123 (a)(7) of the Atomic Energy Act.) Indian officials are strenuously objecting and are demanding that the United States give prior long-term consent to reprocess nuclear material subject to the U.S.-Indian agreement.


If the United States is serious about restricting sensitive fuel cycle activities, now is not the time to make an exception for India.


India's insulated "military" fuel cycle involving the FBRs is completely unacceptable to these NPAs.
Last edited by Rye on 31 Jul 2007 06:58, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby vsudhir » 31 Jul 2007 06:45

enqyoob wrote:The EBs are desperately looking for "sell-outs", unable to face the truth that the much-dissed UPA/Commie GOI seems to have out-bania'd the best of the banias. The :(( :(( "Op-Ed" in the "Pioneer" is a disgrace to any self-respecting Hindootva Fascistva. What a bunch of whining ninnies!


Sadly agree.

We SDRE yindoos can do better. So far the deal seems good. Hard to believe good things happen like this also. Murphy's law comes to mind "If something seems too good to be true, it is."

Time will tell, I guess.

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Postby ramana » 31 Jul 2007 06:59

Rye wrote:If Thorium is used in a nuke reactor and it absorbs neutrons from safeguarded fuel, does the resulting enriched thorium end up in the "IAEA safeguarded fuel" bucket or the unsafeguarded bucket? To my untrained eye, it appears that the answer is the latter, which should be okay.


Rye, Think of it as genetic material for improving livestock. With that analogy the safeguarded fuel provides neutrons to convert the Thorium. So that has to be under safeguarded category.

Just think of it this way there have to be separate streams for civilian an military usage. Its not difficult to conceptualize the streams. Only money is involved but then this is not the India of 1947- all the treasure stolen by the Brits or UK under guise of sterling reserve and the loans by the Princely states all null and voided by the 1947 accession agreement.

DAE and the Indian strategic community has agreed to this two stream apporach.


N^# about your views on the whines, soon after the agreement was announced I thought the 'dehati jackal' has caged the NPA tiger. The allusion is to the classic "Brahmin and the Tiger".

Sorry I am like that onlee.

I now want you'll to ponder over the conundrum of the 8 PHWR plants and Dhruv producing away at the rate that Arun_S has been calculating and recall that there is a replacement for CIRRUS being retired in 2010. All this is from the separation plan of the M3 circa. And compare to Gurmeet Kanwal's IDSA study.

What is the idea? How much maal is planned for?

What if GOI already has the maal for all the places it needs?

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Postby ramana » 31 Jul 2007 07:08

ShauryaT wrote:
Gerard wrote:Given that Shakti 4+5 were not detected, subcritical or even low yield (sub-kiloton) tests (with decoupling) should be no problem...

The US asserts that its subcritical tests are not a violation of the CTBT or the test moratorium, that they are not really nuclear tests. Can they attempt to penalize India while doing the same?
Hyde calls for it.


If anyone recalls I said in 1999 that India should conduct these as estoppel. Never mind what the sci com feels. But nothing came out of that.

However from Chidambaram's interview to Frontline the Chotus are the best SOAT (state of the art technology). The others are stuck in sub-critical tests trying to figure out the Equation of State of PU. One of these days they will fall of the cliff and get accused of resuming nuke testing.

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Postby Mohan Raju » 31 Jul 2007 07:10

enqyoob wrote:The EBs (Energizer Bunnies) are desperately looking for "sell-outs", unable to face the truth that the much-dissed UPA/Commie GOI seems to have out-bania'd the best of the banias.


They don't realize the cunning of the desi babus, the true EBs (Energizer Banias). 8)

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Postby Rye » 31 Jul 2007 07:11

Ramana wrote:
Think of it as genetic material for improving livestock. With that analogy the safeguarded fuel provides neutrons to convert the Thorium. So that has to be under safeguarded category.


Thanks, Ramana. So it makes sense that the Thorium only be used in the fuel cycle arising from the "military" program -- no point creating U-233 from the Indigenous Thorium and then placing them under IAEA safeguards, when Uranium under IAEA safeguards is going to be available from the NSG countries.

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Postby Mohan Raju » 31 Jul 2007 07:16

ramana wrote:If anyone recalls I said in 1999 that India should conduct these as estoppel.


Yes, I remember that. In fact, you stressed the estoppel factor more recently as well (in the last couple of years), and I agreed.

The others are stuck in sub-critical tests...


By "others" do you mean desi bhais or P5?

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Postby ramana » 31 Jul 2007 07:21

This is what I think.

Ak has the charter to support the military program and the civil program in that order.

DAE has somehow figured out a way to use the FBR to do something to the reactor grade Pu and that was proofed in the 1998 tests( Iam not a physics major but have a nose for ferreting hidden stuff0. So until they have built up adequate stock of that stuff the FBRs wont be on civil side.
The other reason why they want FBR on non-civil side is they need to refine the process first for the 3 stage process. So keeping it in non-civil side keeps the enquiring minds out. If Inshallah or by Thoth India develops clout and takes its rightful place among the front ranking powers so it can protect its IP then they will reveal it. Or else it will never come out.

US steals neem seed technology and patents it and claims IP rights over it. And will send the Nimitz next time with lock and load to support the neem patents.

So that is the concern.

Someone said the "world is shaped by the mercy and justice of the powerful."

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Postby ramana » 31 Jul 2007 07:28

Others= P5. Acutally only US does these tests. UK and France dont have test sites. PRC wont know what to do with results. Russia did a few to show they can do it too. Dont really know what they will do with the data except get together with retired US scientists in Helsinki and drink beer and eat semi cooked fish while beating themselves with birch twigs as purgatory.


Just think sub-critical test to use a crude analogy are K*PD. One of these days they will go over board and cry.

In the Frontline interview RC states how complicated is the design to achieve marginal criticality. He said its like a Swiss watch versus pendulum time piece.

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Postby kgoan » 31 Jul 2007 07:31

Hullo folks:

Firstly, an apology to those who I'm supposed to have sent emails to. I won't be able to do that. This post is meant to fill in some gaps.

There's an issue that hasn't been mentioned, (except sotto vocce from some folks), that is a primary driver of the nuke deal from our side that folks should be aware of. All sorts of folks. . . :)

A brief diversion into monsoon village energy production in the motherland.

Do folks know how coal is made? No not *dug up*, how is it *made*. And I'm not talking geological processes. In the old days, when I was an adorably good looking child loved by one and all, (i.e. a couple or perhaps four decades back) burning wood during the monsoons was a bummer of an experience.

So folks would make coal. They way you make coal is real simple - and which can still be seen in upteen villages by the way - you burn the wood *slowly*.

More accurately, you pile up a fair amount of heavy wood (mango, jackfruit, etc. can't just use twigs, leaves and branches), cover the wood with a blanket of mud until it looks like an earthen mound then set fire to the wood inside the mound.

The lack of oxygen means that the burn rate is controlled and instead of the wood burning to ashes it burns very slowly and turns into coal. Said coal is then used during the monsoons when wood burning is a nightmare. (Look up google for more on wood coal.)

Well, I don't suppose I have to point out the obvious analogies with our current nuke energy policy do I? Take a fuel, (wood or uranium) that burns, but whose energy output is not optimal. Burn it slowly covered in a blanket of something else (mud or thorium), and that process turns it into a more useful fuel that increases the energy output by orders of magnitude.

(We (humans) like to think of ourselves as terribly sophisticated don't we? Fact is, after thousands of years we still get our energy by burning things the same way as our cavemen ancestors huddling in the cold around the wood fire.

For energy *something* has to burn. The "sophistication" comes in simply in the way we burn things. That's all.)

The strategic driver of energy
Right, now that's terribly interesting, but who cares and what's the point?

(Besides the actually fascinating fact that India's energy policy is rooted in the energy policies of our village history. Some of you may dislike that perspective. I don't. I love the idea that our oh-so sophisticated energy/reactors policies are simply an updated and copied version of the traditional method of our old village women producing energy to store for their families during the hard monsoon times!)

And here's the point: >> The heart of this from our perspective is, NOT the production but the *STORAGE*.

Here's the heart of the reprocessing issue:

The Nuclear Dump as strategic asset

Over the course of the Indo-US agreement you're going to hear a lot about India being used as a nuclear dump for western nuclear waste products. i.e. The re-processing issue is going to be turned into a "poisonous waste being dumped on third world" issue.

But what's the nuclear waste? It's "used up" uranium. i.e. In our analogy above, we're actually going to build up a store of nuclear *material* which is, quite literally a precussor material that used (burned!) properly actually outputs energy that's orders of magnitude over what a simple uranium burn gives us.

A Nuclear dump sure. BUT: It's also a Nuclear and Energy Vault.

A storehouse of tremendous energy whose value could be larger than the energy output of the ME oil wells. And is therefore a horde of wealth and useable Power (in both senses of the word) of mind boggling proportions.

Think of it for a moment. Currently, only the US and Russia have this ability. (The Japanese also have a large store but are actually just a part of US assets in reality.) The Euros are much further behind with only France having a *competitive* global position in terms of energy cost structures. And the french are well behind the US and Russia.

The reprocessing issue ensures that India joins the US and Russia with this ability. And given *both* our hard earned technological competency *and* our cost structure, we'll be in a better long term position than anyone else.

Understand folks: This issue is crucial. It's the heart of everything.

Neither Coal, Oil nor gas production can be used to fill in the energy gap that Indo-Chinese growth is creating in global energy sources. No "alternative" source has the required technological width to make up that gap. Only nuclear - a well understood technology for the the past 6 decades or so.

Over the next few decades the marginal utility in energy production will be almost entirely nuclear. - *Unless* there's some disruptive technological breakthrough.

And if nuclear is going to be "it", then whoever has the ability to increase energy output from a given quantity of raw yellowcake is going to have a global currency of power that is . . . :)

Yes, the suppliers of yellowcake will be there too, but that's like the current situation where the ME supplies crude and all value addition is in the production process.

Think of Iran. They actually have a *fuel shortage* while exporting crude because they don't have refineries! And unlike refiniries which a number of countries have, nuclear "refineries" will be limited. . . *extremely* limited.

And given India's cost structures, we could end up being the worlds nuclear refinery. With all that that entails.

This issue was one of the hold-ups, but funnily enough was, so I'm told, driven by comments of US allies. i.e. Euroland, Japan and others. Everyone understands what this could mean. And one of the drivers of the holdup in an agreement was how they could ensure that India did *NOT* end up in such a dominant position a few years from now.

The US/West and Russians *have* to have a global stranglehold on this issue if they're to have any *controlling* influence over India and China in the long run. Others however, in places like Euroland and Japan, seem to be driven by H&D issues!

That (from the US allies point of view) was the real heart of the matter, or so I'm told. The testing and weponisation issue in the media was certainly important, but a bit of a blindside**. Not even the dippiest of NPA's were under any illusion they could do anything about our weapons. (I don't have to point out on BR, I hope, that the NPA types are about maintaining US/Western superiority and don't give a stuff about nukes as such as long as that criterion is fullfilled. The "believing anti-nuke" type NPA's are simply useful idiots.)

Part of the US-Russian nuclear partnership that's discussed here so often, is to ensure that they can maintain their viability against Indian cost structures. Do consider the implications of that folks and how far we've come when the US and Russians are forced to work together to be competitive against us! :)

**Different perspectives of course. The Mil/Sec types think weapons are the most important thing. The long term policy types, who don't take the idea of a conflict/nuclear-war between the West and India terribly seriously, were focused on this issue.

Some points:

1. This may all go pear-shaped if we make the "LCA mistake".

i.e. We're determined to do our own thing - the US/West and Russians have an interest in making sure they have a stake in things but *also* trying like hell to make sure their lead doesn't evaporate. To avoid the "LCA mistake", I hope like hell we're not to be in a situation that the LCA project was in after POK 2.

One reason for confidence is that our nuke tech base is orders of magnitude more advanced than our aeronautical production, design and industrial base. More importantly, we're independent in all tech areas.

But . . .

2. We're in the proto stages of a de facto alliance with the US. I don't see how anyone can know where that's going or whether its to our benefit. My instinct is like JUmrao's "keep at a safe distance". But with this agreement, it's hard to say what "safe distance" is.

3. Re. Oz Uranium:

I can tell you folks this (heck, I can almost guarantee it :) ): The only way to prevent Oz uranium going to India would be if someone set up a blockade to sink all Oz ships taking ore to India - in which case Oz will line up people on the coast and hurl handfuls of ore towards us if they have to.

Oz understands the new world coming into being quite well. Far better than the Euro runts, who huddle in their little collective dog pack and bark loudly at us. Oz doesn't have a dog pack to cover it. Quite the opposite. It has to put up with a lot of local mutts barking at it! And Big Massa is only useful for a limited set of serious issues. Not for harrasment like the Euro mutts do.

Oz does, however, have an H&D issue - a little like Pakees really.

So of course, we still have to play the game. Therefore little brown folks from India will politely ask Massa sidekick to sell us Uranium - Massa sidekick will play hard to get for a while and pretend they actually have some power to force us to agree to their terms. Then they'll agree.

Admittedly this will grate with some jingo folks . . . so we'll just file that away for a future reference . . . but we'll get their yellowcake

Cheers, K.

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Postby Sparsh » 31 Jul 2007 07:32

Ananth, Ldev, ShauryaT,

You people are unnecessarily tying yourself into knots about what is safeguarded and what is not. Instead of thinking in terms of material, think in terms of facilities.

We have declared a list of civilian and non-civilian facilities. And when new facilities are build, the GoI will tell us whether they are civilian or non-civilian. Whatever goes into the civilian facilities, whether it or foreign or domestic, becomes safeguarded. Nothing foreign goes into the non-civilian facilities and what goes on in there is none of the IAEA's business. It is as simple as that.

One more thing. The AHWR produces and consumes U-233 within itself. In its equilibrium state it produces as much U-233 as it consumes. There is no net production of U-233 from the AHWR. That happens from the FBR.

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Postby ramana » 31 Jul 2007 07:33

BC in Deccan Chronicle, 31 July 2007

Let facts speak for themselves
By Brahma Chellaney


US non-proliferation policy, with its export controls and sanctions approach, was fashioned largely in response to India’s 1974 nuclear test. More than 33 years later, that policy has come full circle, with the United States reaching agreement with India to resume civil nuclear cooperation. Yet, US and Indian official statements on the still-undisclosed text of the so-called 123 agreement have brought out in sharp relief the onerous conditions New Delhi has been made to accept.

The deal’s raison d’être is spot on: a new strategic partnership. Yet, on issues from reprocessing to assured fuel supply, the US has sought to accommodate India’s concerns more through symbolism than policy modification. America, for instance, has kept a veto on Indian reprocessing until such time it can negotiate follow-up "arrangements and procedures" — that too after India has completed a new "state-of-the-art" facility. On other key issues, including a unilateral test ban on India, the US "right to return" and centrality of the Hyde Act, there hasn’t been a change even in nuance. Even before the fine print has been released, the writing on the wall has become clear.

* First is the primacy of the Hyde Act, which defines India-specific terms and conditions over 41 pages.

According to undersecretary Nicholas Burns, "we kept reminding the Indian side, and they were good enough to negotiate on this basis that anything we did had to fall within, and respect, the legal guidelines that Congress had set forth." For his part, national security adviser M.K. Narayanan has conceded: "The PM had always taken the view that if you have a legal problem, we will not try to ask you to break the law, but we should find the language that would meet the obligations of both sides." Semantic lollypops indeed are what India has been left holding.

If anything, the 123 agreement expressly reinforces the Hyde Act by citing the applicability of national laws to govern cooperation.

Contrast that with what Parliament was told last December after the Hyde Act’s enactment: the government has "taken note of certain extraneous and prescriptive provisions in the legislation," and that "there are areas which continue to be a cause for concern, and we will need to discuss them with the US administration before the bilateral cooperation agreement can be finalised."

* Second is a permanent test ban on India, with the cooperation arrangements stacked against Indian testing through overt punitive elements.

According to Burns, the proposed cooperation is premised on the US "hope and trust that it won’t be necessary for India to test in the future." India is being dragged through the backdoor into the CTBT, which the US has failed to ratify.

Not only does the Hyde Act go beyond other US laws to remove executive flexibility and require automatic termination of waiver in case of an Indian test, but also New Delhi has itself acquiesced to cooperation on the basis of the test prohibition in the Act’s Section 106. India thus will have no case in international law if the US terminated all cooperation in response to an Indian test. Yet, the Prime Minister is quoted as telling the CWC that, "India retains the right to test, while the US retains the right to react."

* Third is the US right to seek the return of all nuclear items and materials if India were to breach any of the prescribed conditions, including the test prohibition and a bar on any entity or individual "under India’s jurisdiction" making an export in violation of NSG or MTCR guidelines.

As Burns has put it, "That right-of-return has been, of course, preserved as it must be under our law, and there has been no change in how we understand the rights of the American President and the American government." By acquiescing to the US "right to return," India is accepting that the supplier is at liberty to lawfully terminate cooperation retroactively.

* Fourth is New Delhi’s grudging acceptance that despite America’s July 18, 2005 promise of "full civil nuclear cooperation and trade," India will face a continued embargo on importing equipment and components related to enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water production, even when such activities are under IAEA inspections and for peaceful purposes.

Burns has cited "major restrictions in American law" to justify such continued sanctions. The Indian fact-sheet released last weekend says the "purpose" of the 123 agreement is to enable "full" cooperation, without admitting that the US reluctance to adjust its laws in that respect defeats the cited purpose.

Not only does the Hyde Act debar transfer to India of any "sensitive" civil nuclear equipment or technology, but also its Section 105(a)(5) directs Washington to "work with members of the NSG, individually and collectively, to further restrict the transfers" of reprocessing, enrichment and heavy-water technologies to India. Yet the Act demands that the target country, India, actively work with the US to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to third countries.

* Fifth is that the American assurance of uninterrupted fuel supply for safeguarded reactors covers only disruption due to market failure or technical or logistical difficulties, but not sanctions arising from India’s non-compliance with the US-prescribed non-proliferation conditions.

So, despite fuel assurances having been written into the 123-agreement text, Burns has made it clear that "none of that contradicts or conflicts with the legal right of any American President" to terminate supply or invoke the right to demand the return of stockpiled fuel if India, in "the worst-case hypothetical event in the future," breached the stipulated non-proliferation conditions.

It would actually defeat the very objective of the Hyde Act — to hold India on a non-proliferation leash — if New Delhi were guaranteed permanent fuel supply in all circumstances. The Act indeed decrees that India be prevented from building any fuel stockpile of a size that would permit its "riding out any sanctions that might be imposed" by the US in the future. The only fuel stocks it permits India to build are merely to "minimise down time when reactor cores are removed."

Given that the Hyde Act serves as the legal framework for cooperation, the US fuel assurances in the 123 agreement are subordinate to the legislative conditions. These assurances, including a notional right for India to take corrective measures, are really intended to help New Delhi save face at home.

With the latest 123 agreement, America now has 24 such bilateral agreements, none of which guarantees what the Prime Minister had sought — lifetime fuel supply. The one accord that did — the 1963 agreement with New Delhi, which guaranteed fuel "as needed" by India — the US broke with impunity, despite the absence of an overarching law like the Hyde Act. Now, India will accept perpetual IAEA inspections on its entire civil nuclear programme without an unequivocal guarantee of perpetual fuel supply.

* Sixth is that India has agreed, according to Burns, that "all future breeder reactors will come under safeguards."

That will leave out only the tiny experimental breeder and the under-construction prototype breeder (which together, according to US national security adviser Stephen Hadley, have "very limited capability"). And although both sides admit the Indian strategic programme would not be directly affected, the deal’s embedded qualitative and quantitative checks would "limit the size and sophistication of India’s nuclear-weapons programme," in the earlier words of Joseph R. Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

* Seventh is that despite the hoopla about a supposed major American concession, the US will keep a prior-consent veto on Indian reprocessing until New Delhi in the years ahead has negotiated with it "arrangements and procedures" that pass muster with Congress.

To help the Indian government save face domestically, Washington has indeed conceded a theoretical right to New Delhi to reprocess, but preserved its veto until such time that India, on its own cost, has built, in Burns’ words, a "new state-of-the-art" reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards, and only "then the subsequent arrangements and procedures will be agreed to by the US and India."

So the practical right to reprocess would not form part of the agreement under Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, but is to be worked out in the future under Section 131, titled "Subsequent Arrangements." Securing the practical right would thus entail a second round of congressional scrutiny and approval.

The accompanying table on reprocessing shows how history is repeating itself. By agreeing to reprocessing-related terms that are tougher than those in the earlier 123 agreement signed in 1963, India risks sliding deeper into the same trap from which it wishes to extricate itself.

Just as it built a special facility at Tarapur to reprocess spent fuel under the safeguards-related terms of the 1963 accord, it has pledged to construct a new reprocessing facility under the latest agreement. But even though the PREFRE facility at Tarapur passed muster with the IAEA, and India reprocessed spent fuel from RAPS I & II there under IAEA inspections, the US refused until the very end of that 123 agreement to jointly determine with New Delhi the facility’s safeguards-related adequacy.

The US did not have any prior-consent veto in the 1963 agreement, yet it breached its terms by continuously refusing to either exercise its first option to buy Tarapur spent fuel in excess of India’s needs or to carry out a safeguards-related "joint determination" of the PREFRE facility. What gives New Delhi confidence that when the US shunned a simple "joint determination" of an IAEA-certified reprocessing facility, it would be willing to work out, to India’s satisfaction, complex "arrangements and procedures" under Section 131 in the years ahead?

India’s last reprocessing facility at Kalpakkam took five years to complete. The new "start-of-the-art" facility could take longer, given that the US would have a say in its design. Only thereafter, as Burns has repeatedly clarified, would the US negotiate with India reprocessing-related "arrangements and procedures" needing congressional approval.

Contrast that statement with the claim in the Indian fact-sheet that to give "effect" to the Indian right to reprocess, "India will establish a national reprocessing facility to reprocess IAEA safeguarded nuclear material, and the parties will agree on arrangements and procedures within one year." No sooner had this claim been made than the NSA conceded in a newspaper interview that "I don’t think the whole thing will be decided in one year." He raised the spectre of "spoilers" nitpicking on the facility design.

Even before the reprocessing issue is operationally resolved, Burns foresees that "American companies will be able to go in (for reactor contracts), and we’re very anxious to have that happen" as soon as Congress is able to pass the 123 agreement.

* In addition, there are other conditions, spelled out in the Hyde Act.

Among them are US end-use monitoring (which the government says is unavoidable, given the bilateral end-use verification agreement governing high-tech exports), New Delhi’s "unilateral adherence" to US-led regimes unrelated to the nuclear field, and an annual presidential certification of India’s "full compliance" with the congressionally imposed conditions.

Eager to underpin the assorted congressional conditions, America negotiated the 123-agreement text by relying on a battery of lawyers, who have given India only a fig leaf to comply with the new US-set non-proliferation obligations. Burns referred to "legions of lawyers on both sides of the table." But there was no lawyer on the Indian side, as the NSA has admitted. According to the NSA, "our country is not litigious like that" and "I must say God played his role in this" agreement. Having fashioned diplomacy on hope, the government wants the country to repose its faith in God, too. Personalised policymaking, wishful thinking and a disinclination to learn from the past, sadly, remain India’s curse.


ramana
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Postby ramana » 31 Jul 2007 07:43

kg, Do send me an e-mail. All my e-mails to you bounce. :(

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Postby kgoan » 31 Jul 2007 07:47

ramana: Awkward situation. I actually need permission first! Shouldn't be posting here either!

I will as soon as I can, though.

Raju

Postby Raju » 31 Jul 2007 07:59

ramana, plz check your yahoo mail and give a reply.

thanks

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Postby vsudhir » 31 Jul 2007 08:04

KG sar,

Wow. If the economics are as you say, that is.

Which begs the question, why was unkil so keen on 'rehabilitating' Delhi at all in the first place? With NSg and IAEA and all, they had us in a spot, in a no trade N-zone. So their GNEP thing would've been a de facto monopoly, I would imagine.

Admittedly, am muddling throught he reasoning here. Would greatly appreciate some gyan on the matter.

Thx in advance.

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Postby Ananth » 31 Jul 2007 08:06

Sparsh wrote:We have declared a list of civilian and non-civilian facilities. And when new facilities are build, the GoI will tell us whether they are civilian or non-civilian. Whatever goes into the civilian facilities, whether it or foreign or domestic, becomes safeguarded. Nothing foreign goes into the non-civilian facilities and what goes on in there is none of the IAEA's business. It is as simple as that.


So the only way to use the imported fuel (both U and Pu from the spent fuel from imported U) is to place some AHWRs and maybe even FBRs in civilian side since we want to keep the two fuel cycles separate? There is no way using imported fuel from any country to further augment non-civil 3-stage program. So the additionalities that AK talked about roughly boil down to the following:
1) Imported U for burning in civilian PHWRs, LWRs, AHWRs
2) Pu from imported spent fuel, civilian AHWRs that is steady state.

We can never use imported fuel, even if a seller approves (in future) in our non-civil fuel cycle. Is it correct?

KG:
Our control of fuel store is tempered by the constrains placed on us on what we can do with that fuel. We might have the capabilities but in near to medium term we are constrained to either show our hand or sit in the dark corner slowly preparing charcoal.

Raju

Postby Raju » 31 Jul 2007 08:12

vsudhir wrote:
Which begs the question, why was unkil so keen on 'rehabilitating' Delhi at all in the first place? With NSg and IAEA and all, they had us in a spot, in a no trade N-zone. So their GNEP thing would've been a de facto monopoly, I would imagine.



Earlier my understanding was that the tradeoff for taking us out of the spot was supposed to happen during future Iran situation where we would have to compromise. But the tradeoff was preponed and turned into a one-sided favor in order of an immidiate need to spite China. There was this CFR person who said things which pointed to the same.

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Postby CRamS » 31 Jul 2007 08:14

Ramana:

BC doesn't sound one bit optimistic about this 'deal'. He rips open India's positive spin every contentious issue. There are etseemed folks here and elsewhere who are gungo ho about this 'deal'. What is it that they see that BC doesn't?

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Postby Sparsh » 31 Jul 2007 08:15

Ramana,

There is nothing mysterious in what the DAE can do to reactor grade plutonium with the FBR that has far reaching implication for our weapons program.

The fast neutrons from the fissioning of the reactor grade plutonium in the core of the FBR are captured by U-238 in the breeding blankets to form Pu-239 which combined with reprocessing gives us nearly pure super grade plutonium. The FBR thus serves as a laundry of sorts in which we can put reactor grade plutonium in and get weapons grade plutonium out. And the >1 breeding ratio lets us do this is an open ended fashion.

Of course you can breed other things in the blanket as well. Like U-233 from Th-232. That being said, I don't know if the DAE plans to breed anything else apart from Pu-239 and U-233 in the FBRs. Alok was somewhat cryptic about this.

P.S. - Bring Alok back!

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Postby CRamS » 31 Jul 2007 08:15

Ramana:

BC doesn't sound one bit optimistic about this 'deal'. He rips open India's positive spin on every contentious issue. There are etseemed folks here and elsewhere who are gungo ho about this 'deal'. What is it that they see that BC doesn't?


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