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Saturday, December 20, 2008

NPCIL, Areva sign pact for uranium supply

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and the French company Areva have signed an agreement for supply of 300 tonnes of uranium to the fuel-starved nuclear plants of India which are virtually running at 45 per cent of their capacity.

With this accord, Areva has become the first private company to get the nod, after the approval by the Nuclear Suppliers Group easing restrictions on nuclear commerce with India.

Areva will supply uranium to nuclear reactors which will be under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. The contract comes as a follow-up of the nuclear cooperation agreement India signed with France when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Paris in September.

India has so far signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the U.S., Russia and France.

NPCIL sources said they were approached by several companies, including from Kazakhstan and Canada, for uranium sale but such supplies could begin only after a few procedures such as ratification of the agreements in France and Russia were completed.

Reacting to the agreement with Areva, Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh said that with fuel supply resuming once again, it was expected that by June 2009, the country could generate nuclear power at at least 90 per cent of the plants’ capacity. The generation was likely to go up to around 4,100 Mwe from 1,800-1,900 Mwe now.

India plans to add at least 19 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of nearly 16,000 MWe in the 11th Plan period. Of these, eight would be indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors of 700 MWe each, 10 imported Light Water Reactors of 1,000 MWe each and an Advanced Heavy Water Reactor of 300 MWe.

(Source: The Hindu)

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