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India receives Russian enriched uranium
April 02, 2006 17:50 IST
India has received the first part of a promised supply of 60 metric tonnes of enriched uranium fuel from Russian for two units of the Tarapur Atomic Power plants, top sources at the Department of Atomic Energy said.
The first consignment of 20-25 metric tonnes of uranium, which has arrived from Russia at the Nuclear Fuel Complex of DAE, will be delivered to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited at an appropriate time, a DAE official said.
The current fuel supply to Units I and II of the US-built reactors would last for eight months in one unit and for 18 months at the other.
"With the supply, the plants will have fuel for next five years and run smoothly," Executive Director, Corporate Planning, NPCIL, S Thakur told PTI.
NPCIL had recently renovated and modernised the 35-year-old TAPS Units I and II, which can run for the next five years.
TAPS I and II, which were shut down in October last year, were reconnected to the Western Grid on February 16 after undergoing renovation, modernisation and safety upgradation.
Both the renovated units got the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board's license to operate for five years from February 16, 2006 and therefore, the supply by Russia is timely.
TAPS I and II are boiling water reactors and need low enriched uranium as fuel.
Last month, the Russian prime minister, during his visit to New Delhi, announced his country's decision to supply 60 metric tonnes to TAPS to enable it to function with "safety".
PM Mikhail Fradkov had said that the decision was within the 'international framework' and Russia had informed Nuclear Suppliers' Group about it.
Fuel delivery was 'being made under safety exception clause of the NSG guidelines, as NSG otherwise bans nuclear supplies to India,' NPCIL said.
However, Washington has expressed reservations to the move saying such a step should be taken only after India fulfills its obligations under the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
TAPS I and II continues to provide the cheapest non-hydro power just for Rs 1.03 per unit.
The renovated and modernised TAPS I and II can run easily for the next 20 to 30 years, NPCIl said adding that the operating license has to be given by AERB every five years.