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Indian minister provides uranium, construction updates

India has imported just over 7600 tonnes of uranium in the past three years, mostly from Kazakhstan and Canada, according to official figures released by the government. Minister of State Jitendra Singh provided the data, as well as figures for domestic uranium production, and updates on nuclear construction projects, in written answers to questions in the Indian government’s upper house, the Rajya Sabha.

As of February this year, uranium resources identified by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) – a constituent unit of the Department of Atomic Energy – stand at 369,042 tU3O8 in 45 uranium deposits located in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. Seven uranium mines in Jharkhand have produced in total 1,592,292 tU3O8, with a single mine in Andhra Pradesh producing 671,560 tU3O8.

Natural uranium required for India’s pressurised heavy water reactors operating under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards was imported from Kazakhstan, Canada, Russia and France and a reserve is being maintained to ensure supply security of fuel for those reactors, Singh said. The requirements of the PHWRs which are under Indian, rather than IAEA, safeguards are “adequately met” with domestic uranium production, which is undertaken by Uranium Corporation of India Ltd.

“Towards fuel requirement of boiling water reactors (BWRs) and VVERs, imports are made from Russia,” Singh said. TVEL, the fuel manufacturer subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, has supplied fuel pellets for India’s two BWR units at Tarapur since the signing of a cooperation agreement between India and Russia in 2008.

Over the past three years, India has imported a total of 4557.67 tU from Kazatomprom and 2988.37 tU from Cameco, all as natural uranium ore concentrate. It imported 56.78 tU from TVEL, in the form of enriched uranium fuel pellets. All the imports from Russia took place during 2019-2020, according to the information released by the Rajya Sabha.

In answer to a separate question, Singh said 22 nuclear reactors with a capacity of 6780 MWe are currently in operation in India, in addition to Kakrapar unit 3 which was connected to the grid in January 2021.

Further units described by Singh as under construction, with their expected completion dates, are: Kakrapar 4 (expected completion 2022), Rajasthan 7 and 8 (2023), Kudankulam 3 and 4 (2023), Kudankulam 5 and 6 (2027) Gorakhpur 1 and 2 (2028), and the Kalpakkam Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (2022).

Kaiga 5 and 6, Gorakhpur 3 and 4, Chutka 1 and 2, and Mahi Banswara units 1-4 have all been “accorded sanction”, he said.

Source: World Nuclear News