Bush, Putin on nuclear energy consolidation drive
on august 3, 2007, India and the us declared a bilateral agreement on full civil nuclear energy cooperation after two years of tortuous negotiation. Nuclear energy propagators cheered, sensing a revival for the ailing sector. What went unnoticed in the international media was an agreement between the us and Russia to boost the global nuclear energy trade and then to control the boom.
Barely a fortnight before the Indo-us deal, the us and Russia, the world's biggest nuclear energy powers, drafted an agreement on cooperation and control of nuclear energy. They are now signing agreements with other potential nuclear power user countries. The us is negotiating a similar deal with Australia, the world's biggest exporter of unprocessed uranium.Russia has agreed to join the us- sponsored Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (gnep) and is negotiating support for nuclear energy projects with a dozen countries.
A cartel on the cards? The global nuclear energy market is estimated to be worth us $375 billion in the coming decade. There are 442 nuclear power plants in the world, spread across 30 countries; most of them in western Europe and North America. Asia, particularly India and China, has seen a speedy growth in nuclear energy. Twenty-two of the last 31 new nuclear power plants are in Asia.
"The Russia-usa cooperation targets the anticipated business in nuclear energy production not just in countries like India and China, but in a wide range of other potential countries,' says Robert Joseph, us special envoy for nuclear non-proliferation. The deal aims to concentrate the entire cycle of nuclear energy