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‘US approval will trigger NSG rush to India’

March 9, 2006 Leave a comment

From the Indian Express
March 09, 2006

Once the US Congress clears the Indo-US nuclear deal, it would lead to a rush of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries to access the Indian nuclear power market, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar said.

“However, if the deal does not come through for any reason, we will continue with our programme and the three-stage programme envisaged by Homi Bhabha will not be compromised at any stage,” Kakodkar said at his first press conference after the two countries reached an understanding last week to implement the agreement.

Once the deal is cleared by the US Congress, it would open the floodgates for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to come in a big way to cater to the needs of India, the world’s largest market for nuclear power, Kakodkar said.

With India’s growing GDP, welcoming over 20 new reactors from outside from the NSG would increase the nuclear electricity base in the country, he said adding this is very essential as India is energy-starved.

Kakodkar said India has not compromised its indigenous nuclear programmes by signing the deal and the country’s fast breeder programme will not be put under international safeguards at any time under the march two agreement.

Describing the Indo-US deal on civilian nuclear programme as a ‘very practical’ one, he said India is expecting it to be cleared by the US Congress.

On the issue of India specific safeguards, Kakodkar said India has to negotiate with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) along with the US.

Since a few of the Indian reactors are already under IAEA safeguards, it would not be a problem facing the inspectors with complete separation programme, he said.

He said the separation plan of civilian and strategic nuclear facilities would be carried out in phased manner till 2014 and a lot of preparations are to be made although the cost-benefit ratio is yet to be worked out.

Asked about the sanctity of arriving at 2014 deadline, he said there would be lot of administrative difficulties and it needed that much of time to complete the separation.

The AEC chariman said the finer details of the 14 of the total 22 nuclear reactors to be placed under international safeguards will be made public within few days.

Kakodkar said, “we have broadly identified the 14 reactors which will come under safeguards, but the finer details are being worked out. And the details would be ready within few days”.

Emphasising the need to step up the country’s nuclear power base, he said the Indo-US deal is very good and ‘let me assure you that we have not compromised any thing that would affect the country’s interest’.

“Our main objective was to increase the power base in nuclear energy and if the deal goes through, initially we will have two additional 1000 mw each plants in Kudankulam and another two 1000 mw each at Jaitapur in Maharashtra from outside,” Kakodkar said.

“We are also simultaneously expanding four indigenous plants of 700 mw each, two each at Kakrapar in Gujarat and Rawatbatta in Rajasthan,” he said.

Already at company level, Nuclear Power Corporation is being approached by nuclear companies of Russia, France and UK, he said.

“However, we will negotiate with those companies and we expect them to work out the tariff at a competitive rate. Of course, it is too early to talk about it as the debate is being carried out at the policy level. July 18 statement opened way for international civilian cooperation and as long as the suppliers group takes care of the competitive tariff, the NPCIL will have no problem,” he said.

“Since the continuity in fuel supply is promised in the agreement of March 2, we hope that the deal is followed fully and truthfully by the suppliers if and when the deal comes through,” Kakodkar said.

Speaking on the safeguards, he said since India has a peculiar situation, ‘we have to bargain for an India-specific safeguards, we have not begun any discussion in this direction as yet. We have to convince the IAEA and since we have a good track record on our four of our existing rectors which are under safeguards, there should be no problem to convince them’.

“The additional safeguards (which are given to weapons country) would be in addition to the India-specific safeguards and we will be working clause by clause and it is an elaborate process,” he said.

“We have strength in that area also with the past experience and there should be no problem,” he said.

Regarding the perpetuity of fuel supply, Kakodkar said, “we will be stockpiling the fuel and even if the suppliers deny at any point of time, we will not be falling short. At the same time, we are also continuing the exploration of indigenously available uranium and research on thorium reactors should take care of future needs”.

On thorium utilisation, he said, already the Kamini reactor (40 kv) has proved the technology to enhance the capacity. The 300 mwe advanced heavy water reactor is under development and is being evaluated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

“After that we need government clearance and once it is through, we can go ahead with advanced heavy water reactors,” he added.

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Govt proposes to set up Atomic Parks to raise N-power capacity

March 8, 2006 Leave a comment

From Outlook
March 08, 2006

New Delhi, Mar 8 (PTI) The government is planning to set up Atomic Parks in the country to enhance nuclear power capacity at a fast pace and in an economic manner, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

By setting up a larger number of units at each site, the government proposes to utilise the potential for new capacity addition at various sites, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan said in a written reply.

He said the government has recently accorded ‘in principle’ approval and initial pre-project work at Rawatbhata, Kakrapara, Jaitapur and Kudankulam.

Indo-US: An arrangement between India and the US, that allows the American government to request end-use verification for selected dual-use items subject to US licensing requirements or prohibitions, has had a beneficial impact on the Indian industry, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said.

More predictable and liberal licensing has led to expanded high-technology commerce between India and the US, he said.

Its efficient implementation has created confidence for the US to announce license exceptions for selected end-users this month, Sharma said.

Desalination: The Government has launched an atomic energy based action plan to tackle the future drinking water problem by converting saline water of sea into potable water, Chavan said.