M A I N   N E W S

Atomic energy panel Chairman to visit Vienna
Discussion on N-safeguards

Mumbai, April 2
dia’s top nuclear scientist will visit Vienna this week for talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a safeguards accord proposed under the Indo-US nuclear deal to pave the way for resumption of nuclear fuel for Indian reactors.

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar will also discuss with IAEA representatives an additional protocol as agreed in the Indo-US nuclear deal reached during the visit of President George W. Bush last month.

The plan to separate India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities provides for an India-specific safeguards agreement to be negotiated with the IAEA.

New Delhi has sought such an agreement since India is neither a member of the NPT nuclear powers comprising the P-5 countries nor it comes under the category of non-nuclear weapon states.

This is a process the AEC Chairman will be undertaking at Vienna prior to a tripartite arrangement with the US.

“This process is very essential as a preparation to deal with the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group from whom India is expected to buy its future nuclear plants to increase the electricity base capacity which will be put under IAEA safeguards,” a top DAE official said.

The concern of the IAEA is that uranium should not be enriched beyond what is necessary for commercial civil plants, and that plutonium, which is produced by nuclear reactors, should not be refined into a form that would be suitable for bomb production. There are different types of safeguards.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that this agreement will be negotiated so that India will be permitted to take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operations of civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign nuclear supplies.

According to the model additional protocol, the IAEA is to be given considerably more information on nuclear and nuclear-related activities, including R & D, production of uranium and regardless of whether it is traded, and nuclear-related imports and exports.

Nuclear scientists have expressed concerns over the implementation of the protocol as IAEA inspectors could come anytime, anywhere and even to the research institutions which are placed under safeguards.

States must streamline administrative procedures so that IAEA inspectors get automatic visa renewal and can communicate more readily with IAEA headquarters.

Further evolution of safeguards is towards evaluation of each state, taking account of its particular situation and the kind of nuclear materials it has. This will involve greater judgement on the part of the IAEA and the development of effective methodologies which reassure NPT states. — PTI



India receives uranium from Russia

Mumbai, April 2
India has received the first part of the promised supply of 60 metric tonnes of Russian enriched uranium fuel for the two units of Tarapur Atomic Power plants, according to top sources at the Department of Atomic Energy.

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 the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) at an appropriate time, officials said.

The current fuel supply to Units I and II of the US-built reactors (in 1960s) would last for eight months in one unit and for 18 months at the other.

“With the Russian supply of 60 metric tonnes of uranium, the plants will have fuel for the next five years and run smoothly,” Executive Director, Corporate Planning, NPCIL, Mr S. Thakur, said.

The NPCIL had recently renovated and modernised 35-year-old TAPS Unit I and II which could run for next five years “smoothly”, he said.

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 renovated units got the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s licence to operate for five years from February 16, 2006. Therefore, the supply by Russia is timely. TAPS I and II are boiling water reactors and need low enriched uranium as fuel. — PTI


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