New Delhi, Sep 20: The CPI(M) on Saturday, Sep 20 accused the government regarding Indo-US Nuclear deal of striking 'underhand deals' with US companies for supplying nuclear power reactors to India and demanded a proper exercise regarding costs and benefits of nuclear power by an independent body before key decisions on energy policy are taken.
''The entire Indo-US nuclear deal has been shrouded in secrecy, lies and half lies,'' a statement issued by the CPI(M) Polit bureau said.
The statement said a number of these had already been unravelled with the Presidential Determination submitted to the US Congress making public the US interpretation of the 123 Agreement.
''It now appears 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.
It said a proper exercise regarding the costs and benefits of nuclear power must be carried out by an independent body before key decisions regarding energy policy in the country were taken adding that the energy policy of the country should not be held hostage to the demands of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
It said the UPA Government seemed to have already decided to place orders with the US nuclear power companies for supplying a 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 statement quoted William Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, having told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 18 that the Indian government had provided the US with a strong Letter of Intent, stating its intention to purchase reactors with at least 10,000 Mega Watts (MWe) worth of new power generation capacity from US firms.
''India has committed to devote at least two sites to US firms,'' it said. The CPI(M) also accused the UPA government of having committed to adhere to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. Each 1000/1,100 MW reactor from US companies like Westinghouse or GE, by latest estimates, would cost at least 7 billion dollars each. This translated to approximately Rs 28 crore per MW, which is 7 to 8 times the capital cost of coal fired thermal power plants of equivalent capacity.
The 10,000 MW figure stated by Mr Burns implied India putting 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 the Maharashtra State Electricity Board owing to exhorbitant costs, such expensive imports of nuclear reactors can sink the entire power sector of the country,'' the CPI(M) said.
It said that of even greater concern was the mention by Mr Burns of India's commitment to adhere to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.
''Shorn of verbiage, this means that in the case of any Bhopal type disaster, the Indian Government will take over all liabilities from the suppliers and the operators,'' it said.
It said the suppliers of nuclear reactors had demanded a no-liability regime for supplying equipment, which the UPA Government seemed to have accepted without any public debate.