Thursday, December 13, 2007

India-US Nuclear Deal: Clearing up Myths

A lot of new myths have cropped up to take the place of old ones. Although I know this will have no effect on the blowhards, I list them below in the hope of putting this *information* (as opposed to the bullshit) out there.

1) Coal is India's lifesaver

No, not quite. India has a lot of poor quality coal. Transporting poor quality coal requires a tremendous amount of electricity or diesel. The economics of this does depend on the price of diesel or electricity, but ultimately the profitability of transporting coal to a TPP requires that the amount of ash content in the coal be small - we have up to 40% ash in our accessible coal deposits. The ability of Coal to secure India's energy future is in doubt unless a cheap source of electricity or diesel is found.

2) Coal can be burnt with advanced pollution control technology to avoid Greenhouse Gas Emissions

There are no currently available economically viable pollution control technologies to sequester Carbon Dioxide from burning coal. In a carbon audited world, the price of coal utilisation will be quite high. Lets face it - Carbon Dioxide sequestration is not cheap.

3) Hydel Power can be tapped more aggressively in India

If you weren't injecting opiates during the entire Narmada Bachao Andolan saga, you will realise that is complete bullshit. The high population density of India makes large land acquisitions very difficult. Hydel projects can be justified in lieu of TPPs if carbon emissions are taxed, but land acquisitions are going to become progressively more and more expensive.

4) Wind, Solar can save the day in India

Wind and Solar have very low volume generation. This may be suitable for Indian villages where consumption control measures might be able to restrict the loads to something that Wind and Solar generation may be able to meet. That is something the people inside GoI might be giving quite a bit of serious thought but unless it can generate 100 MWe - it is useless from the perspective of industrial generation. You have an SEZ and you want to supply it power, Wind and Solar cannot give you that - you need Coal, NG or Nuclear.

5) Coal Bed Methane, Unconventional NG, etc... can give us power

This technology is in the exploratory stage, if we pursue it for another 20 years, we *may* be able to develop a domestic production wedge against NG imports. It all depends on where the consumption patterns take the country. If the country as a whole shifts away from firewood to hydrocarbon fuels, our import dependence is going to remain a serious issue.

6) Biomass will save us from poverty

Do the numbers for this. Biomass cannot currently yeild anything that remotely resembles heavy oil. The conversions demonstrated have very poor efficiency and cannot be properly costed. Without an alternative source of heavily oil, we can't free ourselves from a 70% import bill.

7) Natural gas exploration and liquification is a priority

Yes, sure and to make this happen in any time frame that is useful - most of technology for this has to be imported. We do not have the capacity to make anything of size indigenously. Don't take my word for it, ask your friends at Jamnagar.

8) We don't need to import nuclear reactors or fuel

Sure... if you are willing to put up with expanding blackouts you don't need anything. If you don't want to breathe, then you don't need air either.

But if you want electricity in the *next few years* you are going to have to import fuel - you import fuel - the P5 will want you to buy reactors also. If that surprises you then think it through it will become obvious. The entire nuclear deal is hung up right now because the leader of the pack America is offering us a good rate on the fuel and reactor package. But whoever sells the fuel+reactor package to you will demand all sorts of ancilliary rubbish to ensure some kind of IPR protection. The Americans simply have the annoying habit of dressing up their IPR protection as some kind of "save the World from the nuclear proliferation" rubbish - the rest of them have more subtle ways of doing the same thing.

9) Our Uranium is good enough and can be mined to meet our needs

If you actually read the DAE's numbers instead of just mouthing off about them you will see that our *proven* and *accessible* Uranium reserves are poor quality and we have not found a single vein of high quality ore in India. By contrast other nations have proven reserves of quality ore. We can keep looking but it does not look good for the price of mining Uranium domestically. Imports are the key to shoring up the local Uranium market until fresh sources (i.e. Thorium based extraction) becomes viable.

10) Soverignity is the most important thing!

And just you absolutely understand what I am saying - you are okay with importing natural gas and petroleum related infrastructure from the same Americans but then you don't want to import nuclear reactors? - Were you all asleep when the US and its friends refused to supply the Iranian refinery at Abadan last year? Did you just miss this crippling petrol and diesel shortage that the Iranians endured in the July this year? Or are you magically hoping that somehow Jamnagar will not be harmed by this kind of "negotiation"?

Let me sum this up those people in India who have a short *comprehension* span.

If you want your electricty to be uninterrupted and secure the domestic Indian diesel market against shocks from "sudden and unanticipated events", you *HAVE* to have fuel imports to existing reactors. This can only happen when the NSG obstacles are cleared and since America has created most of this NSG bullshit you have to deal with the Americans and their bizarre ideas of the world.

So instead of spending your time spewing venon on India's elected representatives, put your American passports, you American visa applications and your American supplied paychecks down and look carefully at what America really wants out of this deal.

Don't ask India's representatives stupid questions like "Why would America give India such a nice deal".

Find out for yourselves.

The DCH (and their pied pipers) must go beyond the Cold War psyops about America and go deeper into its national desires. Try to get a sense of why America does what it does and then open your mouth.

Because of your irresponsible behaviour the nation's political parties have to stage an unprofitable drama in parliament. This has already massively eroded the credibilty of the office of the Prime Minister and cost *India* hundreds of crores. This drama needs to be toned down before it actually costs us thousands of crores of rupees. The sooner you DCH (and the pied pipers) sort out your ignorance issues, the sooner this drama ends.


At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Alok_N said...

Good job, maverick ...

the Indian press has become unreadable because of the insufferable fools who keep mouthing the same crap over and over ...

I will add a few more points to your excellent summary:

1. China did get some sort of loan guarantees for reactor purchases ... so the whole refrain of "where will the money come from?" is not a real issue ...

2. Spent Fuel ... not sure why folks worry about it so much ... they need to think about it in terms of a "Plutonium mine" or "neutron storage" rather than "waste" ...

3. Indian uranium ... there is no point stepping up mining operations ... leave the stuff buried for the next 30 years by which time cost of uranium would be so high that mining it would be more profitable ...

4. You are right about solar power ... the largest demonstrated project was 10 MWe ... and it cost something like $200M ... solar is great for heating water for a bath or running a few lights and fans, but it is not yet useful for industrial power ...

5. Can the Tatas or someone develop a Rs 4 lakh hybrid car? ... India is adding 1 million gas/diesel vehicles per year ... scary ...

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Why are you mixing imports of diesel with the nuclear deal? If Iran is attacked then we will be hurt very badly. Also remember most of the diesel is used in the transportation sector.

1)Are you suggesting that instead of using diesel for transporting coal, we may as well use nuclear fuel to transport coal or in that case why do need to use coal at all just use nuclear power. But then what about the time taken to construct a nuclear reactor.

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the long comment.
Britain just announced a 33GW (that is a G not an M) wind power project in the sea to be built by 2020 which would supply enough electricity to supply every single household in Britain. Do you think the British are mad people?

The reason that coal has to be transported to the TPP's is because the plants were built far away from the mines because of the previous stupid socialist freight equalization policy. To reduce coal transportation costs you build the TPP next to the mine and transport the electricity and not the coal.

The Soviet Union transported their entire industrial infrastructure (including the power plants and factories piece by piece) practically overnight to the east of the Ural mountains when the Nazis attacked - and they did it while fighting a war at the same time. This they did because the Nazis did not have any long range bomber aircraft (one of the stupid mistakes made by Hitler). This is also the reason a lot of our infrastructure was built in the South out of the range of Pak and Chinese aircraft. So push comes to shove the TPPs can be shifted when urgently required. Since we already have a grid its not like we have to move the other industrial infrastructure just the TPPs). In any case what are all those steam engines for if we do not have diesel.

The Nazis fought the entire WW 2 using coal gassification using the Fischer-Tropsch process where they turned the coal into oil (costs about $35-$50 a barrel) and that was 60 years ago.

The three states in India with the most hydroelectric potential are Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. All three states have low population densities. As far as anti-dam activists go - Medha Patkar will be running around in Nandigram and Singur for the next 2-3 years. She has also pissed off all her leftist friends by her activism in Nandigram so there are very few people to back her. Arundhati Roy is now old and ugly. uski taraf koi nahi dekhega. If you start 10 projects together (3-4 per state), the activists cannot spread out all their opposition to all ten. They will concentrate on one or two projects while the rest can be happily built without their interference. In fact it would be best to announce a couple of Tughlaki projects along with those 10 projects so that activists will spend their time on those two projects - an example tughlaki project would be to dam the Yamuna a couple of kms downstrean from dilli;) This is called a Honeypot strategy regularly used to catch hackers.

We were constantly told that we have no more oil and gas and now Reliance and Cairn find oil/gas practically every six months. Who knows where that is going.

The entire thinking process behind this post and several others is based on a mindset build on scarcity and a belief that the universe is a static place where the number of variables and their values remain constant. This is the kind of thinking that led to socialism and communism. This is invalid thinking. If Dhirubhai thought like this he would never have build his refinery. The act of observing and measuring a phenomena changes the phenomena itself. This thinking also undervalues human ingenuity and adaptability (as can be expected from a bunch of elitists).

Most places outside Mumbai have 4-5 hours powercut everyday, instead they will have a 8-9 hour power cut, big deal. The GDP might go down by a couple of points - like this is supposedly very disturbing to the very same ruling class people who gave us the license-permit raj and the "Hindu" rate of growth.

The more FUD I see spread about this deal and the unseemly hurry to get everyone on board the more it looks like a Congressi Bofors/Enron style boondoggle. Trying to get it done quickly since they do not know how long their govt might last. It is the institution that must be the holy cow not the person occupying it.

Short Term - Makes no difference even if signed today it will be at least 3 years before the reactor is built and functioning.
Long Term - Makes no difference, nobody knows how technology will evolve, no need to act like scaredy cats right now. Who even knows if global warming is for real - maybe they will show in three years that there is actually a global cooling taking place.

If sovereignty has to be signed away it should be time bound for 5-10 years not for eternity.

Also the oil is not going to get over. Read this article. No I am not a youngster.

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous alok_n said...


a few assertions that you make caught my eye:

1. you state that 33 GW is enough for "every household" in UK ... seems low but could be true ... so, what happens when the wind slows down? ... the problem with wind. solar etc is that they can not provide sustained industrial power 24/7 ...

2. what steam engines? ... as far as I know, the last one (at least in BG) was retired a few years ago ... and I don't mean "mothballed" ... (believe it or not, a few years ago I tried to buy an NG steam engine in India for import to a US "fun tide" project ... )

3. economics of scarcity ... you can't deflect this problem with words ... oil will get scarce, period.

4. short term impact of nuke deal ... there actually is an impact to existing reactors that are running at below capacity ...

5. you state, "Long Term - Makes no difference, nobody knows how technology will evolve" ... while it is good be inclusive and group yourself with everyone else, this "Ram Jaane" attitude can not be a planning tool ...

6. as for "8-9 hours power cut, no big deal" comment, well ...

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post by anonymous reeks of Extra High Voltage Jingogiri and half-informed opinions (if not plain vanilla idiocy). But here goes one swig anyway...

Read the small print folks; wind power "capacity" of 33 GW! And that too with ten thousand concrete c0cks (With apologies to Allen Ginsberg. I think he wrote about "Granite C0cks" but hey, gimme a break!) on the Northern coastline of fair Albion. It ain't ever "installed power", it's power "capacity" when we talk about wind power projects.

BTW, the effect of adding a LARGE number of (small) turbogenerators, even if "fault-isolated" by appropriate step-up transformers/grid connection schemes, is a very tricky prospect. Power Systems tend to follow Murphy's Laws From Hell, you see... Now add to it the erratic nature of the power delivered by these wind turbines. It's kinda amazing that the DF, another big proponent of Wind Power and Amar Solar Power, and manned by battalions of Electrical/Electronics Engineers doesn't say anything about load flow studies and fault analysis in this regard. It's numbers, numbers and numbers....

Now let's say we manage to rein in the above problem, India doesn't exactly have the same topography as England or Denmark, does it? I mean..... ever notice where India puts up her wind farms? Are these individual zones (each with high acreage) able to "sustain" anything over 210MW?

Even in the comments section of the link posted by Anon there's a very pertinent point; "Interconnectors". The added up costs (initial, running etc) comes at astronomical figures if you go beyond a certain limit... Correctly planned, it can solve some of our problems but it can never replace conventional power.

Ahhh... whats the point!

-Anand K

At 12:39 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

I am NOT talking about future power plants I am talking about CURRENT power plants. If the Indo US nuclear deal fails catastrophically, then we will unable to buy any more fuel from for *EXISTING* reactors. Increases in Uranium mining will not be able to provide us fuel in the next three years.

If we cannot keep the *existing* nuclear reactors operating at high capacity factor RIGHT NOW - we will have to make up the loss of generation by running the Coal fired thermal power plants at a higher capacity factor.

Indian TPPs typically run at a lower capacity factor because we can't afford to ship our low grade coal to them.

If we simply *have* to run the Thermal plants - then we will use up a lot more diesel to send our poor quality coal to the plants.

If you have electricity to burn then you can use Electric locomotives to haul your coal - but if you have an electricity shortage, then you have to use Diesel locos to move the coal.

There simply won't be a choice.

Such a situation will leave us super vulnerable to any global fluctuations in the price of diesel.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Anonymous,

Yes that is 33GW in 2020.

I am talking about right now!.

What is the capacity factor of that 33GW wind farm? Do they have a way to calculate that?

My friend's company is going to be up and running the Nhava Sheva industrial zone three months from now. He needs 50MWe and 200 MWth - Is he going to get it from this virtual British wind farm in 2020?

Or perhaps he is going to get it from the 100kWe Solar panels that the Germans are paying their citizens $100,000 each to put up on their farms?

I don't think my friend is going to be very happy when you tell him he should wait until 2020 to put up his industry. The politicians whose party he routinely makes donations to is not going to be happy with this slow rate of growth either.

Your statement about the placement of the TPPs reflects the completely lack of knowledge of how things are done in India. You think we Indians are stupid and that makes you think everything we have done is wrong.

We put our TPPs in a place where the cost of electricity supplied could be supported by the market. Given that our coal was poor quality (upto 50% ash) we the maximum distance we can place an TPP from a coal deposit is ~ 1000 km. Beyond that the consumer has to move his arse closer to the TPP in order to keep his cost down.

There is nothing socialist about this. Bear in mind, in 1947 - the country was recovering from a famine that left 6 million people dead! and a partition that left another 10 million displaced. NO the local markets could not support very high prices of energy!
Similary industries had to be placed close to mineral deposits. That put a price cap on energy because of cost of mineral transport. The coal plants were put closer to the industries to keep costs down and that meant that shipping costs of coal had to kept low.

This is where the entire APM in the Min. Pet. came from!!

BTW have you every looked at the details of Fisher Tropsch? What is the cost of making a commericially viable CTL solution in India? RIGHT NOW? you do realise that this tech. comes almost exclusively from US vendors? Are you assuming that they will simply sell that to us without asking for something comparable in return?

When was the last time you visited an Indian coal plant? Which part would you like to move first - the furnace or the generators? How many "industries" did the FUSSR move east? Do you want me to tell you the exact number or would you rather ask a serious Russian historian? What was the scale of the economic disruption that the USSR suffered during WWII? Did the USSR pull through this mess on its own? or did it have to import things from the US? I seem to recall some very expensive convoys that trudged across the arctic to get to Murmansk. What was all that about? Did they just do that for kicks?

When was the last occasion that you travelled through the North-East? How long does it take to drive from Guwahati to Itanagar?Have you asked anyone from AP or Sikkim or HP what they feel about Hydel PPs? When was the last time you took a bag of cement from Calcutta to Siliguri much less Guwahati? Can you please cost this option for us here? How is the transport of construction material up the slopes of HP/AP/Sikkim going to be accomplished without consuming shitloads of diesel?

Have you talked to anyone at Reliance and asked them how quickly they can exploit those oil finds? What is the fraction of recoverable reserves in these "new" finds? or do you simply read a headline in the online ToI?

The GDP growth rate will few points - sure I don't really care about that. All that is simply intellectual cocaine for the DCH. I am more concerned about the sensitivity to market fluctuations in diesel.

Do you understand? I am not talking about the existance of oil - I am simply talking about our ability to buy it at a price that we can live with.

I don't know what else you feel is infinite in India, but our diesel stock are FINITE. You push those to the brink and you will end up exposing the economy to market fluctuations in Diesel pricing. In the Short-Term there will be market fluctuations in the price of diesel and we do not want a situation where these are transferred to Indian consumers. The powercuts they can live with - but inflation of prices of essential commodities is something India can do without!

No one - not the Congress or the BJP or the CPI want price fluctuations in the essential commodities.

You know when older people talk rubbish like this, I am reminded that DCHness is an old malady that presents itself in every age.

Whatever your issues with Congress or BJP or Left etc... I have no problems with them.

But I suggest you sort your ignorance issues out before these crazy ideas do irreparable damage to the country's economy.

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maverick raised valid points to which I will respond later.

Anand K and Alok_N (point 1)
The british govt announced this on December 10, 2007. What both of you are saying is that you know more than the entire British Govt - abhi mai kya bol sakta hoon, and I am supposed to be the ignorant jingoist.

Here are links to 138 newspapers carrying the announcement on December 11. This is the website of the UK business secretary John Hutton who announced it. Send email to him asking about "interconnectors".

Shooting the messenger reduces your own credibility.

Alok_N (other points)
2. what steam engines? ... as far as I know, the last one (at least in BG) was retired a few years ago ... and I don't mean "mothballed" ... (believe it or not, a few years ago I tried to buy an NG steam engine in India for import to a US "fun tide" project ... )
>>>List of steam locos running in India

Here is another much larger list. Check the status column.

Geoff has lists for steam survivors from all of South Asia

3. economics of scarcity ... you can't deflect this problem with words ... oil will get scarce, period.
No it will not, period. Please read the second link I provided. Here it is again

Even if you do not believe what is written in that article, just Alberta in Canada has more oil in the tar sands than the entire reserves of Saudi Arabia.

All that is happening is that the cheap oil is getting over. There is lots and lots of expensive oil remaining (think Fischer-Tropsch, Maverick has a more valid objection here which I will address in my next post later).

Amartya Sen got a Nobel Prize for pointing out that famines occur primarily NOT due to a shortage of food, but the lack of access (deliberately withheld by British in Bengal famine) or money to buy food. Once again go argue with him. There will be no shortage of oil, just a shortage of money to buy oil, along with a carbon restriction on using it even if you can afford to buy it.

4. short term impact of nuke deal ... there actually is an impact to existing reactors that are running at below capacity ...
Short term there are lots of measures that can be taken. Did you believe that Laloo would turn the railways around. Check out the Indian Railways freight carrying capacity increase percentage year over year since Laloo took over.

So what you are basically saying is that we hand over our sovereignty in return for some short term benefit. Humko kya amrikan samjha hain kya?

5. you state, "Long Term - Makes no difference, nobody knows how technology will evolve" ... while it is good be inclusive and group yourself with everyone else, this "Ram Jaane" attitude can not be a planning tool ...
teen saal mein dollar ka kya hone waala hain woh to Raam Jaane nahin hain. In three years so many things can change - in any case mavericks primary argument is about the short term.

6. as for "8-9 hours power cut, no big deal" comment, well ...
It is actually true - go into the interior and ask around, will it matter.


At 9:15 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

Boss, there is nothing for you to respond to in my post. You can respond to it if you want to, but frankly this is a waste of time.

I am not interested in talking about the long term for nuclear energy v/s other energy sources, you can debate that for ever over tea and biscuits in the villa of your choice in Chanakyapuri.

I have no interest in that - I am talking about *RIGHT NOW*.

If you want the existing nuclear power plants to run at high capacity factor you have to keep the fuel stocks high.

That means this US led negotiation with NSG *has* to go through. There is simply no time for politically inspired grand standing here. If this collapses tomorrow we will have to scale back the capacity factors on the NPPs currently dumping power on the grid.

If we can't run the NPPs at a high capacity factor and we have a short fall *right now* in production.

In theory you can make up that shortfall by allowing the TPPs to burn more coal. But then you have to ship more coal to the TPPs and that costs diesel. Every train carrys about 40% ash in it. That is why the IR has produced volumes of work asking/begging/screaming etc... at Coal ministry to do something about the high ash content.

I am not arguing about the long term pricing of energy. You can make all kinds of models for that. All the models will be total bullshit.

I am talking about exposing the Indian consumer to any fluctuation in global diesel pricing.

Diesel pricing used to be managed through the APM at Petroleum Ministry, but now with the APM being carefully pruned down, we have less control over things than we used to.

In a scenario where we are burning diesel to move coal to the TPPs, the dependence on diesel will become critical and any shortcoming in the lite APM version will come to bite us.

Forget Iran, today Reliance produces about 30% of our diesel. Tomorrow, an accident of the kind that happened to the Samudra Suraksha and the BHN platform occurs at Jamnagar.. we will be completely and utterly fucked! Not only will there be a diesel shortage for our agriculture sector - even our urban industrial electric grids will collapse due to a lack of coal at the TPPs!

After what happened at BHN can we say with a straight face this will never happen?

Is it so far out of the range of possibility?

Maybe it is - but I ask you... why take chances?

There is import dependence in every part of the energy sector, to some extent soverignity will have to be leveraged to secure the necessary resources.

This is a pragmatic appraisal of the situation.

This DCH hyper-inflated sense of soverignity goes against the grain of reality in the energy sector.

It is time to recognise this and move towards a more pragmatic posturing.

The media with its emphasis on hype is going into overdrive, it is driving the debate to the ends of the earth and providing airtime to every lunatic they can lay their hands on. The amount of sheer crap is reaching damaging proportions.

I think this has got to stop.

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous alok_n said...

anonymous joker,

please return to DF where your kind of posts find merit ...

googling and posting a useless "steam engine" website only enhances your ignorance ... get a clue ...

face it boss, your kind of google warrior with "138 links" kind of crap is exactly what the media aims to fool ... it is working ... :)

it takes work to understand energy issues ... google does not constitute "work" ... I hope that DCH has non-google folks because you do not inspire confidence ...

At 9:59 PM, Anonymous alok_n said...


perhaps, I was too hard on you ... you need lessons, not derision ...

BG, in IR context means "braod gauge" ... the list of steam engines that you have googled does not contain any BG locos ... try to understand the gauge system of India ... things like "darjeeling railways" are "narrow gauge" ... a good part of Rajasthan tracks are "meter gauge" ...

"broad gauge" refers to ~1.6 m gauge that is the default in India and MG tracks are being converted to BG ... now go back to the list and try to find a "broad gause" steam loco ...

once you appreciate this little technical issue, apply the same to "33 GW of wind power in the UK" ...

as I said before technical knowledge needs work which is tad more intense than "google knowledge" ...


At 10:18 PM, Anonymous alok_n said...

"Did you believe that Laloo would turn the railways around. Check out the Indian Railways freight carrying capacity increase percentage year over year since Laloo took over."

if you need a clue, check out non-DCH and non-DDM analyses of "Laloo Magic" and understand what crap it truly is ...

but then, why bother ... for you "argument" is more important than "truth" ...

oh well ...

At 6:52 AM, Blogger maverick said...


We shifted out of steam because the maint. costs were higher.

Today there are a handful of BG locos that can be used for sporadic trips, but we don't have enough to push around the coal we need. Conversion of NG/MG locos to BG is out of the question for coal. The equipment is way too old and we don't have the spares to keep them running.

Getting the ones that are lying in random yards across the country back into operation is not cheap either and to run them at a reasonable price we will need to import coal.

The problem in any case is *not* locomotives. The problem is that the GQ routes where IR runs most of the coal are saturated. We can over saturate these but that will impose serious risks of railway accidents.

Ask the assistant magicians who helped Lalooji pull of his act whether they think over saturating is a good idea. I am pretty certain they don't think so.

If we have to move extra coal on the GQ routes, we will have cut down the number of passenger trains and that will push commuters on to roads - where the diesel use is even less efficient and is likely to strain the road transport infrastructure.

So either ways we are stuck with a rapidly escalating diesel bill and an infrastructure that is barely sufficient to meet our needs.

In this situation we will be looking at the possibility of a 1990 style mess where economic collapse will be induced by a single fluctuation in global oil prices.

Bhailog, this is just not good.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I won't comment further, but after seeing the kind of arguments to push this deal I am now even more convinced of where I stand.

good Bye - AH

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous alok_n said...


Goodbye and give my regards to Luddites United of Yesterville ...

This "huff and a puff and I don't get it and I can't counter things, so I will take a parting clueless shot" attitude is ludicrous ... why can't DCH grow up?

when I used to post on DF, one DCH type posted that "we will burn thorium in choolahs" rather than deal with the US ...

it appears that there is a class of middle-class urbanites who have a tunnel-vision in terms of "megaton nukes on top of globe-targeting missiles" ... that's it, no more and no less ... this line of thinking is quite disturbing ... it is getting nourishment from some component of the NRI crowd as well ...

unfortunately, this philosophy (if you can call it that) is about 40 years too late and hence obsolete ... it would have been nice if it was in place already but it is not ... deal with it ...

India is not China ... India deals (or rather, does not deal) with problems differently... how many ICBMs does one need to get Bangladesh to behave itself? ... get the point?

for example, this is the same crowd that worshiped AK on DF ... however, the monomaniacal mortal morons soon discovered that they had to choose their Gods carefully because AK came out in support of the deal ... rather than reflect on their folly, they demoted their God and started abusing AK himself ...

also, this is the same crowd that a couple of years ago had no clue about nuclear facts and asked abysmally naive questions on DF ... now these folks are running around googling sites and pretending to understand complex energy security issues ...

another example of the monomania is that the rabidly religious crowd started appreciating the commies ... "strange bedfellows" doesn't even begin to describe this cretinous behavior ...

a typical sequence of events on DF goes as follows:

1. DCH makes an outlandish remark

2. some "deep philosophy conspiracy theorist type" makes a one-liner absolutely cryptic comment

3. DCH says "wah-wah" and is egged on to make completely egregious comments about traitors, dhimmis and other lower beings

4. some Admin type steps in and calms things down

5. some new DCH picks up and the cycle repeats itself

so will we miss AH on maverick's blog? ... I doubt it ...

At 6:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi AH,

Boss What deal are you talking about?

There is no nuclear deal left here to be had.

That is why the Helicopter order was changed at the last minute. It is the *thank-you* purchase - or the best we can do for now. If the kitty hawk goes through, that will be another part of the *thank you* purchase. I leave it to your imagination to tell you whether the people of India really benifit from the purchase of a Kitty hawk or 120 helicopters when we will simply not have the diesel fuel needed to run either of those things!!

After all this tamasha that people have put on - do you think the Americans are going to want to give India a nuclear deal?

The only reason why they wanted to do this in the first place was because it would help bouy the dollar racket. With the fall of the dollar, now there is little incentive for them to do that.

NOW - the situation is - that India needs *a* deal far more than America.

This is not an intrinsically an advantageous position to be in and a very difficult position to negotiate from.

RIGHT NOW - we have to negotiate with to get fuel replacements for existing reactors. The Americans want all further negotiations in such matters to be carried out in consultation with them.

The "we don't want a deal" DCH anthem being trotted out past the Indian media is pissing the Americans off. If the Americans decide to stick it to us, then they will use their international stature to make absolutely certain that we get no uranium shipments to our existing reactors - all the support from our Russian brothers nonwithstanding.

Even if the Russians send us some Uranium, tomorrow the Americans could just ask their friends in the ISI to mount an attack on Jamnagar and we will have a shortfall of 10-15% in our diesel production and then despite having all the nuclear fuel in the world we will still be completely fucked!

At this point the entire debate on nuclear issues has slid into the hands of professional rabble rousers and career troublemakers. This community has always been around, but it has never been allowed access to this debate. These people are coming up with all sorts of myths to make it seem like they are worth listening too. When I heard about that suggestion about negotiating with Non-NSG countries, by blood boiled - when have any of the people making these suggestions tried to negotiate with these non-NSG countries? Have they tried shipping a container of cowdung from these places? which shipping company do they use? How can anyone take these idiots seriously?

It is now up to the Indian public specifically the DCH and their pipers to understand this state of debate should not get in the way of whatever critical negotiations have to be carried out to replenish existing reactor fuels and the tone of the debate does not offend the Americans to the point where the feel compelled to get frisky with us.

I trust the politicians to make a careful distinction between negotiations for fuel for existing reactors and the nuclear deal over future reactors.

I do not trust the DCH to make this distinction - which is why I am bringing up this diesel point.

Ultimately the media will swing towards whatever viewpoint gains it the most growth in viewership. The more the DCH clings to this unviable idea of soverignity - the more spectacular will be its fall.

We are in a very difficult position with regards the NSG now. We have to do what negotiations we must do to secure the fuel we need, and we must simulataneously ensure that we do not create more problems than we solve vis a vis the Americans.

The state of debate in India right now is shockingly disconnected from reality and the DCH and their pied pipers are responsible for this.

Their attitudes needs to change.

Put it this way - if you want that "imported" sukhoi you just took photos of to fly in the future, then think diesel - think diesel!

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Alok_N said...

Hi M,

there still may be a deal ... let's see ...

here is the irony on DF: the DCH that were railing against MMS for dealing with the US are now whining in the wake of the announced sale of 500 missiles to Pak ... now, they wanna know how come MMS is *not* dealing with the US ...

cluelessness know no bounds ...

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The usual suspects in the DF cite the refusal by GoI to discuss the deal on the floor of the parliament. I have a few guesses on why the GoI (or to be more exact, certain voices in the INC) sought to restrict that sort of foot-in-the-door (and the public posturing/media circus that would follow); even hinted it in a post of mine in an early thread. IIRC Kgoan also made a point about how the INC is in effect shutting off the BJP from the "higher planes"...

I nevertheless would like to hear your take on why the deal could not/will not be discussed in parliament.

-Anand K

At 9:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Alok,

At my optimistic best, I am certain this thing is has fallen apart.

In my more pessimistic moods I wonder what the pissed off Indian industrialists will do when they can't get power to the plants.

I watch as the list of people who want JeM attacks in India to succeed grows longer with each day.

Anand K,

I think your assessment is accurate.

Both the CPI and BJP are facing enormous internal political pressures from tier 2 leaders seeking to rise to tier 1. This is colouring the debate environment.

The Congress(I) does not have that problem right now.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Alok_N said...

Hi Anand,

This whole thing of "debating decisions in parliament" is a bogey ... it does not have the tradition/precedence that folks would like to imply ...

did Mrs. G have a debate about terminating Privy Purse?

did Mrs. G have a debate about nationalizing banks? That issue alone has had a huge impact on India.

Did Indian Parliament vote to declare War on Pak, either in '65 or '71?

Did Vajpayee ask for a debate before the 1998 tests?

Indian PMs have traditionally assumed a mandate for action ... the "khujli" in MMS' case stems from the fact that he is not a Lok Sabha member ... so what? ... the rules allow it and he is within rules ... khujli-mongers should buy some balm ...

there is a set of DCH that has viewed US Congress proceedings and somehow believes that it applies to India as well ... no fat chance ... would be nice, but most of the Netas are effectively illiterate, so it serves no purpose ...

if anything, the debate in Parliament should be about how the Parliament can elevate its own standards to a level where it can hold its head high and consider itself worthy of representing a highly visible intellectual India ...

however, you and I know the truth ... this "parliament" consists of folks with criminal records who are not censored by this august body ...

don't let a few fool you into thinking that the parliament is anything but a ROBOT that votes according to a predetermined formula ...

the few who can actually speak make good points ... the remainder have 3 functions:

1. thump desks

2. storm the pit

3. walk out

you wanna debate with folks who mingle with other folks who are wanted for murder?

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi m,
Let me have a different take for the Black Belt champs.
1)This tamasha is all about preventing Indian soil being used for any attack on Persia. Bush would like to show how he has turned India into a poodle, with the next war he will gladly announce on TV " with our friends like Great Britain & our new friends India.....""

2)Maverick do not loose hope on this nuclear deal though our politicians have mostly criminal records as some poster before suggested there are of clever chanakian variety.
This deal will go through .
Also Maverick has become far too clever than all of us. I remember early this year how he was whining about the deal falling through when the 123 negotiations were on, then suddenly out of a blue 123 agreement was reached upon. Maverick then had a different take. Please refer to his earlier blogs

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Let us go back in time a decade back in time to 1998:- two questions which can be very controversial(black belt guys pardon me as i am a novice. Only would like to know your response)
1)Was it a mistake to explode nuclear weapons in 1998?

2) MMS may have been right as he had warned at that time : that the explosion of nuclear weapons will cost us dear in terms of defence expenditure,....

3)Will this deal allow us to build a surivable inventory of nuclear deterrent? If yes go for it, otherwise no( I am all for a middle path when it comes to either nuclear weapons or civil nuclear energy:- hope you understand)

At 1:42 AM, Anonymous cyclone nation said...

Hi m,

Did you see NSA's interview on CNN-IBN?

What do you make of the timing and content?


At 6:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

I am not too clever for anything nor have I changed my basic position - despite its unpopularity.

My understanding of the "deal" is that it was a way to secure our T-bills and Dollar reserves against depreciation. By servicing the loans taken on fuel purchases and reactor building, we would be able to keep large quantities of the dollar in circulation.

This died when the American senators tried to stick clauses into the deal that had nothing to with the basic economic motivations of the deal.

When they did such things, I commented that the deal was dead in spirit.

I also told everyone willing to hear me that this kind of behaviour would not be appreciated in India.

Now the Indian parliament is staging precisely the drama I predicted would happen.

Now I am commenting that the deal is deal in body and in spirit.

We are no longer in a position where the large dollar and t-bill reserves can be used as leverage to secure items that we can actually use.

Sure we can still use them to buy the Kitty Hawk and some helicopters, but unless we get diesel those weapons will never be usable. You will simply not able to able to train your crews adequately to operate them.

If you want a piece of paper that says "Indo US deal" on it - you may get that - but it will be simply a piece of paper and nothing more.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Anonymous,

>> Was it a mistake to explode nuclear weapons in 1998?

No, it was a necessary act. The proliferation environement was getting worrisome. It is another matter if someone besides the BJP would have handled it differently. That question cannot be answered.

>> Will this deal allow us to build a surivable inventory of nuclear deterrent? If yes go for it, otherwise no( I am all for a middle path when it comes to either nuclear weapons or civil nuclear energy:- hope you understand)

The Indo-US civil nuclear deal has nothing to do with the survivability of the nuclear arsenal. It is about protecting the economy from shocks due to fluctuations in the prices of carbon energy.

It is possible that the failure of the deal might result in an economic slowdown which slows the pace of defence related activity etc... but this is a small effect.

The big effect of hypersensitivity to the global carbon pricing will be the possibility of serious damage to the agro economies.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Actually a related point I think I should probably bring up with the DCH - the problems in the agroeconomy.

The DCH typically tend to be city kids with no understanding or exposure to rural India.

The DCH might totally miss the fact that the agroeconomy is collapsing under resource pressures.

Do the DCH get this at all?

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maverick,

>> Agro Economy

I am aware that nearly third of total Indian electricity consumption is courtesy the agriculture sector... in the Green Revolution states it's as high as 50%. Still the effect of spiraling Carbon Energy prices doesn't lead to a COLLAPSE of the agro-economy, right? (Please tell me it won't!) I mean, a huge portion of this sector, especially wet farming and pulses, is still not dependent on electricity and even chemicals-fertilizers. Moreover, our grain stock and sowing seed stocks have not rotted away in the godowns.... at least in entirety. Of course if the fuel crunch persists, we may see an eventual winding down in that sector 1-2 yrs!
I always thought (kinda like a Pavlovian response) that the immediate danger would be our TPPs.... i.e. the power to run my PC, AC and TV. As a true-blau upper middle-class city boy, I haven't yet given much thought on what the power crunch would do to our agro sector. Darn! All this soggy fries/missing Prison Break etc due to power cuts kinda pales compared to the possible consequences in the agro-sector, right?
(Lemme admit I don't know Indian rural life intimately; most of my knowledge is from books/mags or from safe "Discover Rural India Trips" . Still, on more than one occasion I had asked DFites to at least read magazines like Yojana or guides like Publication Division's India Year Book when I realised most of them were even more clueless than I am. India Today, Frontline and other such rags aren't very useful in this regard.)

Still there's something Yojana or Kurukshetra (or EPW) etc. doesn't dare ask/answer; if the dreaded Great Indian Fuel Crunch comes, what will be given priority? Is it "agriculture uber alles" or is it reduce passenger trains so that goods/coal can be moved.... or is it siphoning fuel to power the DCH fatcats' discos/pubs and pray that their hot-air would power our turbogenerators.

Or.... will the price we pay to Unkil be even higher? Remember that the Klingons keeled over to wimpy Star Fleet when Praxis Moon went kaboom ;)

-Anand K

At 9:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anand,

I feel the agro economy cannot be treated like a monolith.

There are parts which are directly vulnerable to oil shocks and parts which are indirectly vulnerable.

For example at the extremes, subsistence agriculture is relatively insulated from direct carbon shocks but is heavily intertied with the general state of the economy. Most subsistence farmers live in debt, and any problems with the economy could easily transfer into the informal banking sector. This would create a massive credit crunch that destroys the lives of these farmers.

Then you have the cooperative farms which produce grain for the rest of the country. They are more vulnerable to oil shocks through dependence in the irrigation (electricity), fertilizer (natural gas/naptha) and transport/machinery (diesel) areas. What shocks they face - they will relay to the rest of country through escalation in food pricing. Recall the onion riots?

The prime reason for the agro-economy's collapse in India is the inability of the agriculture sector to hide unemployment any more. It used to be that the unemployment in rural India could be hidden by giving people occasional jobs in the agriculture sector. The rising rural populations mean that there are simply too many people for this kind of trick to work.

The migration pattern into urban areas is critical now as this determines the manner in which the collapse of the rural economy will affect the urban sector. Irrespective of which part of the agroeconomy the migrants come from - the moment they enter the urban economy, they become vulnerable to carbon related economic shocks. Even the subsistence farmers who choose migration over a debt induced suicide will now simply leave the grinding penury of the farms to scrape a living as beggars on the streets of Mumbai.

Mind you I am just talking about the sensitivity of the agroeconomy to carbon shocks - I am too timid to discuss the mathusian saga that
will most likely play out in the Indian Agroeconomy should carbon induced climate change occur! Forget Star Trek - the climate change induced shift in the agroeconomy will read like a page out of Anandamath!! If this happens, the Sons of Mother will raise their swords again and like Bankim Chandra says - all those that stand in their way irrespective of their faith or status will be sacrificed.

The Nuclear Deal with its emphasis on urban industrial economies, at some level seeks to ensure that whatever migration occurs from the rural belt - it will suitably retrenched or absorbed as industrial or industrial support labour in special economic zones.

The DCH and their pied pipers unfortunately do not grasp any of these details, to them India shines through every orfice of their body.

Boss, basically that is my politics for you, I want to see the difficult questions in this agro-to-industrial transformation.

The DCH naarebaazi aside, their basic approach is to drown out the screams of the poor and the helpless by turning up the CD players on their mercedes.

This simply isn't going to drown out India's problems.

If the DCH want to be India's leaders, they better cut this hyper reactive naarebaazi and focus their minds. They can start by listening to India's real problems.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anand,

One more point - the Great Indian Fuel Crunch will come. We are simply being too callous in the way we spend our diesel.

Whatever negotiations occur in connection with the nuclear deal will arrive far too late for to prevent the Indian Fuel Crunch.

I am not scaremongering to get the deal through.

I have already accepted that this deal has failed.

The mess we now see in the Parliament is merely the final layer of this madness.

The deal has already failed and despite the claims of the DCH and the pied pipers, there is no way to fix it.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
"" This died when the American senators tried to stick clauses into the deal that had nothing to with the basic economic motivations of the deal.
Don't you think that our negotiatiors knew it in advance! What our EAM PM say in public 123 agreement is just a passport!

If it is true what you are saying then our negotiators have done a commendable job. But at the same time let us wait as to how this deal works out in future, will we left clutching a piece of paper where our westerly neighbour gleefully expands its arsenal, only time will tell.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

Our western neighbour is not in a position to expand anything. The tide of time has turned against them - weapons are no use in struggle they are entering.

I believe our negotiators have done a fantastic job.

Our negotiators now have an extremely difficult task at hand - to negotiate fuel supply to existing reactors while still retaining the structure of the Indo-US nuclear deal. We are entering this negotiation from a position of inferiority - we need the deal more than our NSG/non-NSG suppliers do and our dollar reserves are depreciating with each passing second.

It really does not help the negotiators if India as whole comes across as having rejected the deal.

The drama staged in parliament is mainly driven by two political issues; the lack of a ladder of succession inside the BJP and the CPI and the question of who will be the next government. I have no quarrel with such a drama. I simply want to keep it detached from the negotiation process itself. I wonder if the GoI has similar concerns and perhaps that is why they are keeping the deal from being discussed?

The general atmosphere of mindless drivel perpetuated by a DCH and their pied pipers creates the impression that India as a whole is not really interested in any deal.

This kind of pointless posturing and arrogant projection does not help our negotiators in any way.

The DCH's time is better spent in silent contemplation of the pattern of diesel usage in India. Their lack of such forward faculty is giving airtime to more destructive tendencies. Empty hands and minds are working in ways that do not make for good sense.

It is safe for me to say that the GoI is very close to uninviting the misguided and illinformed commentary on the deal. The withdrawl of the invitiation to comment may last at least as long as a critical phase of negotiations proceeds - until that is, we successfully propriate the Gods of nuclear fuel and obtain fuel shipments for existing reactors without a sense of prejudice.

Till then I say... Calumny Be Gone!


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