The security risks inherent in the nuclear cooperation agreement reached yesterday between President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh far outweigh the energy benefits of the deal, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute. Spending the same money on new, clean energy options would provide greater energy security without increasing the risk that terrorists will get their hands on new nuclear arsenals.

The deal, if supported by the U.S. Congress, will undermine international non-proliferation efforts at a critical time. "It's now going to be tough to argue that Iran and North Korea should be denied nuclear technology while India—which has failed to even join the Non-Proliferation Treaty—is given the same technology on a silver platter," said Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin.

Proponents claim that nuclear power will be India's ticket to energy security and prosperity in this energy-starved country of 1.1 billion people. India currently relies on large quantities of dirty, low-grade domestic coal and expensive oil imports to supply its power needs. Blackouts are a chronic problem in many regions and threaten to constrain booming industrial development. But according to Worldwatch's 2006 State of the World report, nuclear power is not India's best option. Nuclear power provides only 3 percent of the country's electricity today, and even if the 30 new nuclear plants the government hopes to build are actually completed over the next two decades (India has consistently fallen short on its past nuclear ambition) nuclear would still provide only 5 percent of the country's electricity and 2 percent of its total energy.


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