A producer for a TV series once told fantasy writer George R.R. Martin: “You can have horses or you can have Stonehenge. But you can’t have horses and Stonehenge.” That trade- off could be an unlikely parable as India prepares for an independent nuclear regulator.
Nuclear energy is a difficult industry here. On the one hand are conflicting, often confused, regulatory and jurisdictional powers. On the other are strident calls for greater safety in nuclear power generation, amplified after Japan’s recent experience. An independent authority has the chance to address both. As a statutory body, it would report to Parliament. And with outside technical scrutiny, it could set effective and transparent standards for safe power generation.
Implemented correctly, this may be the solution to many of the country’s problems with nuclear power. And India might get to keep both the figurative horse and Stonehenge.