Bangalore: India is embarking on opening new uranium mines and boosting nuclear power generation capacity as fuel supplies are expected to get a major push from domestic and international sources, a top scientist said.
Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar told PTI here that the first consignment of 120 tonnes of uranium pellets had already landed in India, and the government was engaged in a dialogue with international vendor countries to get more such supplies.
Kakodkar said the uranium had been delivered under a kind of a long-term contract (with Russia). “They (Russia) will keep delivering and we will use it in the reactors, which we are putting under safeguards,” he said.
“We also had a contract with Areva (of France) and uranium has come from there too,” said Kakodkar, also secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy.
The scientist said India was talking to a number countries, but did not name them saying that the discussions with some countries were “in very fluid stages.”
Prospective vendor companies are currently in discussion mode and have to go through a lot of understanding about the reactors and their design, among other things, he said.
Kakodkar said, ”We are also looking to set up additional mines. Some mines have already come on stream. Some projects are going on. But we want to start new projects.“
He said some exploration work has been started at Gogi (near Gulbarga) in Karnataka “and hopefully we will be able to convert that also into a project.”
“Then we are also looking at Meghalaya (for opening mines),” he said.
“Once we are able to start new mine projects which are in the exploration stage, then we want to proceed with some more heavy water reactors. That’s tied-up with start-up on the uranium mines,” Kakodkar said.
Asked about the update on the high temperature reactor, he said, “Its under development. It will take a while. We are developing basic materials, configuration and things like that.”