tldr: India and every developing country on the planet needs the west to give it access to Uranium, nuclear IP, and the rights to reach energy parity at large.
My History With Nuclear Policy
I’ve been thinking about Nuclear policy in India one way or another for the past 20 years of my life.
You might ask why I spend time thinking about it?
We have a 3K-10K daily Indian death rate from a lack of infrastructure(support), nitrogen(food), and pollution.
The solution to this problem of over burning coal is more energy from cleaner sources.
Solar is like wearing underarmour, it won’t make us a better athlete.
We have to fix core health below with Nuclear energy.
We have 3x the population of the US, but produce 1/3rd the energy and most of it is with a dirty source, coal.
As an engineer, my hands are cuffed against helping fix the problem though.
As you can see, the USA and westerners sealed that fate of mine with its user permissions on Uranium and Nuclear trade rights on technology. What’s worse is that even though India has a nuclear program now, it is forced into building with
My History With India’s Lack of Uranium
My history with India’s lack of Uranium accessibility is odd, weird, and a bit ungepatched.
I tried politically…..
I once attempted legally bribing Tom Delay to help US nuclear policy. The US word for “Jugaad” or bribery is PAC.(Political action committee)
No luck there, he ended up on 60 Minutes for fraud a few days later.
I experienced its results…..
I saw farmer suicides, spent summers making ice cream manually, learned to make candles, and even lost an Uncle to lung cancer. The oh-fuck moment was when I performed soil tests on my place in Vishakapatnam, a city in South India.
India’s great crux…..
Without Uranium, our country remains in a purgatory of burning as much coal as we can.
- 1 Tonne of Uranium has the monstrous capability of — →
- 16K Tonnes of Coal or
- 12.2K Tonnes of Oil
But What About Thorium?
There’s an issue though. We don’t have access to Uranium or didn’t for a long time and we had all sorts of issues accessing Nuclear intellectual property.
When I bring it up with western engineers, I get told “You should just use Thorium.”
The best corollary is that Gandhi’s advice to the Jews was something along the same lines….
If I were a Jew and were born in Germany … I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon. … And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy. … The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant.
The notion that India should leverage solar is dumb and lacks context.
Converting Thorium Into Usable Nuclear
India is abundant in Thorium which can be turned into Uranium 233 very arduously.
There’s been snail like progress on converting thorium into Uranium 233.
Our ability to produce enough energy is our country’s greatest bottleneck.
It is a primary or secondary reason that our country is behind.
Can you imagine if 90M Americans were farmers/agricultural workers or if 80M Americans went to sleep without electricity?
With No Uranium In Sight, We’re Forced to Leverage Something That Will Take Decades to Develop — Thorium
Without uranium, we’ll continue to extract all the poor-quality-50% ash lignite coal and burn it straight into the atmosphere at scale.
- India has 25% of the world’s thorium supply.
- There’s about 1M tonnes available globally.
- We have 290K tonnes. I did a few back of the napkin calculations, this is enough energy for 150–350 years.
To take advantage of our thorium deposits, there’s much work to be done.
- Heavy Water Reactors. We have to build pressurized heavy water reactors(PHWRs) to create plutonium.(reprocessing)
- Plutonium. We have to turn this plutonium into ~70% MOX fuel to breed Uranium-233 with a thorium blanket around the core.
- Fast Breeder Reactors. We’d have to leverage fast breeder reactors to use thorium-232 and produce all the Uranium-233 for other reactors.
There’s a huge lead-time-delay in installing Thorium based nuclear facilities.
A Thorium Breeder Reactor requires several tons of over priced plutonium to start up.
If we want to help India and every other developing country, we should do the following:
- Educate young people about the nature of radiation, how it’s measured, and why it’s safe.
- Teach young people about embodied energy and chemistry.
- Create a proposal where the USA trades uranium and plutonium for thorium mining rights.
- Enable high speed accessibility for India to get Uranium at a low cost.
- Enable Plutonium access for India.