India to build strategic uranium reserve

22 July 2015

India plans to set up a strategic uranium reserve to ensure its nuclear plants do not face fuel shortages. "The reserve pool could be anywhere between 5000m tonnes (mt) to 15,000mt which can last for 5-10 years," a senior government official told Indian media. A proposal for stockpiling 5000mt of uranium has been sent to the cabinet for approval but this is likely to increase in future.

Over the past one year, India has been seeking to buy uranium from various countries including Australia and Canada. It is already receiving uranium from Russia for its indigenous reactors. During prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kazakhstan earlier this month, India renewed a contract for 5000mt of uranium. It also receives uranium from Uzbekistan and France. Fuel for Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu and the planned Jaitapur NPP in Maharashtra, will be supplied by Russia and France respectively, which are constructing those plants.

“We are mostly depending on the uranium from Australia. Once we start getting it, we can start building the reserve," said the official. "Uranium from Kazakhstan will largely meet the current demand. It is a rare commodity, so one should keep stockpiling it whenever it is available at a cheaper rate on the international market." Under the Indo-US nuclear deal, the US undertook to support Indian efforts to develop a strategic nuclear fuel reserve.

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