New Delhi: Cabinet today approved on Thursday (24 August) the setting up of a uranium mine and a processing plant in southern India at a cost of Rs11.06 billion ($269.9 million), the finance minister said.
“The mine is likely to be commissioned within 30 months and the processing plant in 36 months,” Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
He said the plant, to be set up by the state-run Uranium Corporation of India, will meet the uranium fuel requirements of India’s nuclear power programme.
The mine and processing plant will be set up in Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh state.
“This is in no way linked to the current India-US nuclear deal,” Chidambaram said.
The Indian government is currently facing its biggest political crisis over a civilian nuclear deal with the US after its communist allies asked the ruling coalition to drop it or face “serious consequences”.
The deal will allow India to buy nuclear fuel and reactors from the US -- and eventually other countries -- though it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has tested nuclear weapons.
The cabinet also approved the revival of state-run paper firm NEPA Ltd through a joint venture partner from the private sector by selling the government’s stake, cabinet spokesman Priyaranjan Dasmunshi told reporters.
He said the cabinet approved the introduction of legislation in the winter sesssion of parliament for the sale of the stake in NEPA Ltd.