Indo-Japanese Nuclear Agreement Amounts to Nuclear Proliferation in Asia warns Greenpeace

Deal will Fail to Deliver Energy or save Japan’s crumbling nuclear industry

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Press release - November 10, 2016
New Delhi/ Tokyo, 10 November 2016 --The signing of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between Japan and India, will not save Westinghouse/Toshiba’s failing nuclear business, nor will it deliver safe energy for the people of India. Instead, it will increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation in Asia, Greenpeace Japan and Greenpeace India warned today in a joint statement.

The bipartite agreement, due to be signed tomorrow, is intended to open the Indian market to overseas reactor suppliers. It appears to be a desperate effort to secure new contracts for Westinghouse/Toshiba’s AP1000 reactor design, which has had a poor track record globally. While there have been few sales, those projects that are already under construction have overshot their budget and are years behind schedule.(1)

“This agreement is a dangerous energy distraction, even before it is signed. Japan’s nuclear program remains in crisis, with only two operating reactors and opposition from the majority of its people. India’s program, after fifty years of wasted investment, remains marginal in energy terms, lacks the financing for new reactors, and faces strong opposition throughout the nation, including in Gujarat,” said Priya Pillai, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

Despite assurances that Japanese nuclear cooperation with India will not benefit India’s expanding nuclear weapons program, the evidence shows otherwise.

As a nuclear weapon state, but not a signatory of the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, (NPT), India is able to select which of its facilities and nuclear materials are put under international safeguards. In practice, this means that nuclear plants and fissile material (required to manufacture nuclear weapons) can be maintained under India’s military program. The so-called peaceful cooperation agreements, including with Japan, assist India’s nuclear weapons program directly and indirectly.(2)

“Japan’s experience, since the start of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in March 2011, has shown that nuclear power is neither wanted nor necessary. Like Japan, India needs to shift its current energy policy, from relying heavily on depleting and soon-to-be economically unviable fossil fuels and nuclear energy, to renewable energy resources that are abundant, far more sustainable and increasingly competitive economically, ” said Priya Pillai.

India’s market potential for development of safer sources of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is vastc with the country listed among the top five countries for investment in renewables.

The Japan-India Agreement opens, in theory, the way for the construction of six Westinghouse/ Toshiba AP1000 reactors at Mithivirdi, in the state of Gujarat. But in reality, the reactors are neither economically or financially viable, they will take a tremendously long time to build, and will result in higher costs billed to Indian taxpayers. As of now, lobbying efforts by Westinghouse/Toshiba have failed to secure U.S$ .8.-9 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Exim bank to cover some of the costs of the Mithivirdi project. There is strong and sustained community led opposition to the nuclear project from Bhavnagar Jilla Gaon Bachao Samiti in Gujarat.

Westinghouse/Toshiba will be hoping to secure financing for the Mithivirdi project from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. However, the poor record of the AP1000 design, both in construction times and economics, combined with the history of the Indian nuclear program would likely rule out JBID financing for the reactors.

“There is no effective separation between India’s nuclear energy program and its weapons program, and the Japanese government’s Agreement conditions are meaningless. Approving nuclear trade with India is a geo-strategic decision to support further nuclear weapons proliferation in Asia,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace in Japan.

The women of Fukushima have issued an appeal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to visit the disaster area and see first hand the consequences of nuclear power.

1. For reference, the cost of two AP1000’s under construction at Vogtle, in Georgia are three years behind schedule, with latest costs estimates of US$15.5 billion. The only other AP1000’s under construction at Sanmen in China are four years behind schedule, and the resulting cost overruns were likely the cause of Toshiba senior management resignations in 2015.
2.Some examples: permitted access to world uranium resources, India will fuel its power program with imported uranium while reserving its limited domestic uranium for its military program; the Japan/India Agreement place no limits on the use of domestic uranium to be used in plutonium production reactors or uranium enrichment plants; large stockpiles of plutonium contained in Indian spent fuel will remain outside international safeguards, permitting their use for military purposes.
For further information:
Priya Pillai, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, ; +91 9999357766
Anindita Datta Choudhury, Senior Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India, adattach; +91-9871515804
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist, Greenpeace Germany (Tokyo): , +81 (0)80 6647 8503
Chisato Jono, communications officer, Greenpeace Japan: , +81 (0)80-6558-4446