There is a nice quote Ram Jethmalani used in Indian Parliament, targeting a prominent Congress leader – Power corrupts and the prospect of losing power corrupts absolutely. Composition of Nuclear Supplier Group as like the UN Security Council permanent membership is a clear indication of that adage. As of today, the countries opposing India’s entry into NSG are China, New Zealand, Austria, Turkey, South Africa and Ireland. The table below, depicting the current Uranium foot print of the world tells one important thing – of the countries opposing India, New Zealand, Austria and Ireland don’t have any nuclear footprint whatsoever – neither production facilities nor reserves nor reactors. Of the balance, Turkey hasn’t got any footprint today – no production and no active reactors. But, it has got two reactors under construction and has got reserves. We can always argue it doesn’t have the technology to extract Uranium and that it’s reactor programme may be shutdown any day making it another country like Austria or Ireland. Above this, we have countries like Mexico or Switzerland which India had to cultivate. What have they got? No reserves but a handful of reactors – full import unlike India which wants to top up what it has got. And all this, ironically, reminds me of title of that famous book The Mouse that Roared.

This single fact raises some very serious questions over the composition and subsequent monopoly over nuclear trade. As it stands today, of the members, 16 out of the 48 NSG members have no Uranium footprint whatsoever, of the balance two have reserves but no reactors or production and two of them have reactors under construction, effectively restricting the numbers to 28. Should the list be vetted then?

Next is the drama over Iran even though Iran is an NPT signatory. Too much noise is made over Iran but none whatsoever over Egypt and UAE which are building reactors. Or for that sake, Taiwan or Armenia which already have. What is the basis for this prejudice? Are we saying NSGis not a moral overseer but another potent political force which wants to make the world dance to it’s tunes?

Next comes countries like Namibia or Uzbekistan which produce Uranium. If they are not given access to the trade network of NSG, are we sure that they won’t err? Or, for that matter, countries like Mongolia or Vietnam which can start producing any day.

I won’t pass any judgment over this, but my point here is that undeserving should never be given power anywhere. China has got it’s compulsions and it will oppose. But, what right has Turkey or Ireland?

Uranium production (2014)(tonnes) Reactors Reserves as of 2009
Active Under Construction
Algeria Not a member 19500
Argentina 3 1 19100
Armenia Not a member 1
Australia 5001 1673000
Belarus 2
Belgium 7
Brazil 231 2 1 278700
Bulgaria 2
Canada 9134 19 485300
Central African Republic Not a member 12000
Czech Republic 193 6 500
Egypt Not a member 2
Finland 4 1 1100
France 3 58 1 100
Gabon Not a member 4800
Germany 33 9
Hungary 4
India Not a member 385 21 6 80200
Indonesia Not a member 4800
Iran Not a member 1
Italy 4800
Japan 48 2 6600
Jordan Not a member 111800
Kazakhstan 23127 651800
Malawi Not a member 369 15000
Mexico 2
Mongolia Not a member 49300
Namibia Not a member 3255 284200
Netherlands 1
New Zealand
Niger Not a member 4057 272900
Pakistan Not a member 45 3 2
People’s Republic of China 1500 30 21 265000
Peru Not a member 2700
Portugal 7000
Romania 77 2 6700
Russia 2990 34 9 480300
Slovakia 4 25000
Slovenia 1 9200
South Africa 573 2 295600
South Korea 24 4
Spain 7 11300
Sweden 10 10000
Switzerland 5
Taiwan Not a member 6
Turkey 2 7300
Ukraine 926 15 2 105000
United Arab Emirates Not a member 4
United Kingdom 16
United States 1919 99 5 207400
Uzbekistan Not a member 2400 114600
Vietnam Not a member 140800