‘India can meet entire uranium requirement for nuclear generation domestically’

Beach Minerals

Dec 17 2015

India can entirely fuel its nuclear power generation capacity from own sources without having to depend on imported uranium if the government removes restrictions on mining of monazite, an atomic mineral, by private players, says a leading industry player.Presently, only some state-owned companies like Indian Rare Earths and Kerala Metals and Minerals are allowed to mine monazite.Currently, India has nearly 5,000 MW installed capacity in nuclear generation which is majorly fired with uranium imported from countries like Australia and Canada.Monazite, which is found in abundance in India, is a rich source of uranium oxide, a mineral from which uranium is extracted. Though the official estimate puts monazite reserves in the country at 11.93 million tonne, industry’s estimate is much higher at 31 million tonne, which would yield 0.62 million tonne of uranium oxide. “If we produce uranium from our own source, we can meet out the present requirement of our country for more than 600 years,” S Vaikundrajan, chairman, VV Mineral, told UNI. VV Mineral is India’s top exporter of industrial minerals.”The government can stipulate condition that entire mined uranium will be supplied to Nuclear Power Corporation of India,”Vaikundrajan said.India has plans to expand nuclear generation capacity to 63,000 MW by 2031, which will require 10,806 tonne of uranium per year as fuel. For meeting this target and to operate the plants continuously 10,806 million tonne of Uranium will be required per year for its fuel. “In the long run, India is pursuing an indigenous nuclear technology plan comprising indigenous fast breeder reactors, pressurized heavy water reactors as well as pressurized light water reactors. Even though this is a long term plan, the requirement of uranium will continue for the operation of the existing plants,” he added.Mr Vaikundrajan said that since the government has launched ‘Make in India’s programme, it should encourage domestic mining as part of the strategy to overcome dependence on imported fuel. This would also lead to commensurate savings of forex.Monazite is also a rich source of thorium, a fuel on which India has pinned hopes for meeting fuel requirement of its nuclear generation programme at a later stage.India has huge reserves of monazite which can be used for breeder reactors, said Dilip Kumar Jena, manager, PWC. According to the Department of Atomic Energy, Andhra Pradesh has the highest reserves of 3.72 million tonnes, Tamil Nadu 2.46, Odisha 2.41 million tonnes, Kerala 1.9 million tonnes, West Bengal 1.22 million tonnes, Jharkhand 0.22 million tonnes .UNI NM ABI SV 0906

— (UNI) — C-1-1-DL0311-484003.Xml 1234

Courtesy : http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/India/20151213/2746872.html

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