The Debate over India’s Nuclear Separation Plan and the Fast Breeder Reactor
The second chapter begins with an explanation of the origins, evolution, and organizational infrastructure of the Indian nuclear programme. Three Science and Technology Studies (STS) case studies deploying the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) approach are introduced in the theory section and their combined insights are used to organize various individual and collective actors in India based on their initial reactions to the nuclear deal. The chapter then focuses specifically on the debate between two powerful bureaucracies (Department of Atomic Energy [DAE] and Ministry of External Affairs [MEA] within the Indian state over the civilian-military proportions of the separation plan and the status of the fast breeder reactors). The MEA’s generalist vision and the DAE’s narrower departmental vision are observed in the form of two contending separation plans with different civil-military facility balances and rival safeguarded versus unsafeguarded statuses of the fast breeder reactor. The DAE’s tactics to win the debate are elucidated.
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