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India To Launch 16 New Nuclear Reactors




            India To Launch 16 New Nuclear Reactors     Chennai: The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will launch 16 reactors at an outlay of Rs.2.3 trillion ($40 billion) during the 12th Plan period (2012-17), a top official of the atomic power operator said. “We have to launch eight 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) and eight light water reactors (LWRs) involving a total outlay of Rs.230,000 crore (Rs.2.3 trillion). The LWRs will be from foreign companies,” S.K. Jain, who retired Thursday as NPCIL chairman and managing director said.
According to him, the eight 700 MW PHWRs would come up at Kaiga in Karnataka, Gorakhpur in Haryana’s Fatehabad district, Banswada in Rajasthan and Chutka in Madhya Pradesh.
The 16 reactors are in addition to NPCIL’s four 700 MW PHWRs under construction – two at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (units 7 and 8) and two at Kakrapara in Gujarat – at an outlay of Rs.22,000 crore.
The NPCIL currently generates 4,780 MW of power. The new additions of 4,800 will take this to 9,580 MW. A 500 MW reactor to be commissioned by another company, Bhavini, will take India’s installed nuclear power capacity to 10,080 MW by the end of the 12th Plan.
This will be three percent of the 300,000 MW generation capacity planned by 2017. India currently generates a little less than 200,000 MW of power.
Jain, who had a long stint as the NPCIL head, added that raising funds will not be an issue for the projects. “NPCIL is sitting on Rs.15,000 crore which we call as cash for investment. In addition, the company has entered into joint ventures with NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Nalco for setting up nuclear power plants. Each one of them is a giant in its own field.”
On the strength of these companies’ balance sheets, additional funds of Rs.40,000 crore could be raised and with NPCIL’s internal accruals, a total of Rs.80,000 crore could be mobilised, Jain said. “Eighteen overseas banks have come out for arranging debt to NPCIL’s expression of interest that was floated recently. Four have said they would underwrite the entire debt funding for our projects,” Jain said.
According to him the company is looking at external commercial borrowings (ECBs) and export credit agencies (ECA) for funds and over a month ago, NPCIL raised $250 million through ECBs.
He said three public-private-partnership joint venture companies have been incorporated and the projects would be soon allotted for them after the Atomic Energy Act is amended to allow such tie-ups in the nuclear field.
Referring to the two equipment joint ventures that NPCIL has entered into, Jain said the company has tied up site, money and technology and is all set to progress further.
NPCIL has entered into a three-way joint venture with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Alstom for manufacturing turbines for the 700MW PHWRs. “As far as PHWRs are concerned, we have now finalised that the minimum size would be 700 MW. In the future we may also make the turbines at this plant for imported reactors,” he added.
The atomic power plant operator has another joint venture with Larsen and Toubro for making forgings for nuclear power plants.
While Jain was silent on the fuel position, industry officials told IANS that the domestic fuel situation is comfortable for NPCIL as it will be getting 60 percent more uranium for powering four new reactors.

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Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin



Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told




The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus



Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.




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