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Home > News > PTI

N-deal: DAE wants reprocessing rights in future deals

May 02, 2007 14:45 IST

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As India and the United States hammer out a deal to operationalise the civilian nuclear pact, Department of Atomic Energy has strongly pitched for reprocessing rights in all future bilateral agreements.

A parliamentary panel backed the civilian nuclear agreement with the US and strongly favoured continuance of nuclear research in strategic and civilian fields.

"We need to have explicit provision enabling reprocessing in all bilateral cooperation agreements, which India might enter in the future," DAE told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology headed by P G Narayanan.

"In fact, pursuit of closed fuel cycle is a matter of policy for us as the policy ensures fuel resource sustainabilty and also provides for credible waste management by reducing waste volumes," it said.

Indian scientists believe in maximum utilisation of nuclear fuel using closed fuel cycle, which involves the use of spent fuel from Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors for making fuel for fast breeder reactors.

"The committee also desires that the department should ensure that in the future, the country is able to pursue its nuclear activities, whether civilian or military, as per its own national interests," the report on Demand for Grants of the DAE said.

Expressing its support for the nuclear deal, it said, "With the fast depleting conventional sources of energy, the agreement with the United States would result in a quantum jump in our nuclear energy generating capacity and would provide the much needed energy security to the country."

The committee said it, "desires that the cooperation in nuclear research activities should also increase and India should be able to join the international mainstream and occupy its rightful place among the top countries in the nuclear community."

Noting that nuclear cooperation with other countries would lead to rapid power capacity addition in the short run, the DAE told the panel that long-term growth would come only by pursuing a closed cycle approach involving reprocessing of spent fuel, including that of foreign origin and the use of recovered plutonium in fast breeder reactors.

India is pursuing the three-stage nuclear programme, which is designed to derive maximum benefit from nuclear fuel resources available within the country.

The three stages need to be implemented sequentially and evolution of each stage is dependent on the fissile material availability from the previous stage.

The first stage that comprises the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor technology has reached a level of maturity and the plants using the technology are operating at high availability factors.

The panel was informed that DAE has begun construction of 500 mw Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor after completing the necessary research and development work.

"However, there is a need to sustain work across the complete Research-Development-Demonstration and Deployment chain in respect of technologies for second and third stages. This development programme in many ways would be unique to India with no parallel elsewhere and therefore, the ability to carry out all developmental programmes leading up to commercially robust technology in an autonomous manner must be maintained," DAE told the panel.

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