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UPA struck underhand deals with US nuke firms, claims Left

September 20, 2008 18:31 IST

Charging the United Progressive Alliance government with striking "underhand deals" with US nuclear firms to buy reactors even before the 123 agreement has been clinched, the Communist Party of India-Marxist said on Friday India had put in about Rs three lakh crore to "bail out" the ailing American nuclear industry.
Quoting US Under Secretary of State William Burns as saying that India had stated its intention to purchase 10,000 mega watts worth of reactors from American firms, the party said this implied that India had put in "around Rs 280,000 crore to bail out the US nuclear industry that has failed to secure any domestic order for the last 30 years."
"If one misguided Enron project could sink Maharashtra State Electricity Board owing to exorbitant costs, such expensive imports of nuclear reactors can sink the entire power sector of the country," the CPM Politburo said.
In a statement, The CPI-M expressed its opposition to "these underhand deals struck by the UPA government" and demanded a cost-benefit analysis by an independent body before key decisions regarding energy policy in the country are taken.
"The energy policy of the country should not be held hostage to the demands of the Indo-US nuclear deal," it said.
The CPI-M accused the UPA government of having already decided to place orders with US nuclear power firms for supply of large number of nuclear reactors "without any debate in the
country regarding the cost of such imported reactors, or the safety of their designs".

The CPI-M said the mention by Burns of India adhering to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage "was of even greater concern" as, in case of a Bhopal-type disaster, the Indian government would have to take over all liabilities from the reactor suppliers and operators.
"The suppliers of nuclear reactors have demanded a no-liability regime for supplying equipment, which the UPA government seems to have accepted without any public debate," the major Left party alleged.
Maintaining that the nuclear deal had been "shrouded in secrecy, lies and half lies", the party Politburo said these have already been unravelled by the Presidential Determination submitted to the US Congress.
"Now it appears that there is much more about this deal that the UPA government is hiding from the Indian people. Large purchases from US-based nuclear power companies have already been committed in a clandestine manner," it added.

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