The Indian government has announced that it plans to purchase six European Pressurised Reactors for Jaitapur from the French company, Areva. No EPR is in commercial operation anywhere else in the world. Estimates of costs from plants under construction in Finland and France suggest that each unit may cost as much as Rs 60,000 crore; at this price, six units will cost Rs 3.6 lakh crore. The paper shows that the expected starting tariff for electricity from these reactors, without including transmission and distribution costs, is likely to be around Rs 15 per unit (kWh).

The recent Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and, more broadly, on nuclear safety regulation has highlighted many serious organisational and operational flaws. The report follows on a series of earlier CAG reports that documented cost and time overruns and poor performance at a number of nuclear facilities in the country. On the whole, the CAG reports offer a powerful indictment of the department of atomic energy and its nuclear plans.

A comment on “The Limits of Safety Analysis: Severe Nuclear Accident Possibilities at the PFBR” by Ashwin Kumar and M V Ramana (EPW, 22 October 2011), followed by a response by the authors themselves.

Indian policy-makers continue to vouch for nuclear energy after the Fukushima tragedy.Officials from the nuclear establishment claim that India’s nuclear reactors are safe from catastrophic accidents because they have “defence-in-depth”—multiple protective systems all of which have to fail before a radioactive release occurs.

The November 2009 exposure of employees at the Kaiga nuclear power plant to tritiated water is not the first instance of high radiation exposures to workers. Over the years, many nuclear reactors and other facilities associated with the nuclear fuel cycle operated by the Department of Atomic Energy have had accidents of varying severity.

Little is publicly known about the efficiency and economics of heavy water production at the Department of Atomic Energy’s facilities. We estimate the cost of producing heavy water at the Manuguru plant by analysing the available budget figures and assuming reasonable values for other factors that affect the cost and whose values are not publicly available. Our results suggest that the production costs significantly exceed the price charged under even extremely favourable and unrealistic assumptions.

Nuclear power is expensive and unsafe, nuclear weapons are barbarous. We don t need them

The draft nuclear liability bill indemnifies the supplier of a nuclear plant and caps the liability of the operator in the event of an accident. The indemnity for suppliers is meant to please multinational plant vendors who wish to be free of liability even for accidents that result from a design flaw.

The environmental clearance offered to the Koodankulam reactors in Tamil Nadu is not based upon a careful examination of all the potential impacts on the environment and livelihoods nor does it incorporate public concerns.