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Home > News > PTI

India must explore uranium aggresively: Atomic energy chief

August 04, 2006 19:18 IST

India has to adopt an aggressive mode of uranium exploration and mining and also compete for possible international cooperation in the civilian nuclear programme without compromise, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar said on Friday.

Addressing the members of Department of Atomic Energy at a function to mark completion of 50 years of Asia's first nuclear research reactor 'Apsara' at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, he said, "We have to adopt an aggressive mode of uranium exploration and mining to meet the increasing demand for electricity in the country by increasing the share of nuclear power generation."

"This has to be done with the new technologies developed by BARC and the collective wisdom of Indian geologists as I am confident that we can get ore of the quality that exists elsewhere in the world," he said.

Kakodkar said during the last 50 years, the swimming pool-type 'Apsara' reactor acted as a cradle for the country's three-stage nuclear prograqmme and would continue to do so.

"It was the wisdom of the country's nuclear programme founder Dr Homi Bhabha to go ahead to choose the path of uranaium exploration (poor quality 0.26 per cent grade) and mining at Jaduguda, despite the fact that we were getting two Boiling Water Reactors at Tarapur with enriched fuel from abroad during 1960s, when embargoes were as difficult as today", he said.

"If there are opportunities of any international cooperation without impinging our autonomy, without hampering our three-stage programme to have more energy production to meet the country's needs, the self-reliance and energy independence programme should not get dissolved," Kakodkar said.

Therefore, for aggressive mode of uranium exploration and mining, there was a need to improve the fuel production for the nuclear power programme without compromising self-reliance and energy-independence motto, he said.

"We are already doing exploration in several states and some places like Meghalaya have yielded better quality uranium and we must go more aggressively," he stressed.

"In the days of outsourcing, it was time to create national strength by having a transformed value system by recognising our leadership in research and development and technology and strengthening coordination and cooperation between the nuclear industry and R&D units of DAE," he said.

It is time to learn and respect abilities in excellence in the field of plant operation, safety management and environment preservation. Achieving excellence alone is not enough, but it has to be practiced with more focused manner for the protection of investment, he added.

India's three-stage indigenous programme as envisaged in early 1950s would continue and in addition DAE is also developing accelerator driven systems and hydrogen energy as new sources of energy and once BARC and Centre for Advanced Technology were ready with them, the programme will begin at the new location of BARC in Andhra Pradesh, he said.

On Indo-US deal, he said "We will stick to July 18, 2005, agreement. We stand by that."

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