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Uranium deal: NPCIL to ink pact with Kazakhstan

Uranium deal: NPCIL to ink pact with Kazakhstan

Mumbai: Close on the heels of its agreement with a French nuclear major, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., or NPCIL, is likely to sign a three-year contract with Kazakhstan’s state-owned Kazatomprom to get natural uranium stock for its pressurised heavy water reactors which will be under IAEA safeguards.

The agreement will be a part of the Indo-Kazakhstan Nuclear Cooperation pact which is expected to be signed on 23 January during the President Nursultan Nazabayev’s visit to India, NPCIL sources said, adding negotiations are on.

Under the proposed agreement, at least 120 tonnes of uranium will be imported from Kazakhsatan by NPCIL.

NPCIL had recently signed an agreement with French private major AREVA for 300 tonnes of uranium. It is also working with a Russian firm to import 2,000 tonnes of uranium so that India has enough stockpile to run all its plants which will be under International Atomic Energy Agency’s, or IAEA safeguards.

To enusre uninterrupted fuel for all those reactors under safeguards, NPCIL chairman and managing director S.K. Jain had recently said the corporation will be investing in uranium mines in Kazakhstan and Russia.

The first of the imported uranium is likely to be used for the newly constructed Rajasthan Atomic Power Plants units 5 and 6, which comes under the separation plan, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the department of atomic energy is working on details of India-specific safeguards agreement and additional protocol with the IAEA which are pre-requisite for the operationalisation of the nuclear commerce with India by any country.

India had earlier signed civil nuclear co-operation agreement with US, France and Russia.

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