Keywords: by-products, Cuddapah basin, Indo?American collaboration, Meghalaya, nuclear agreement, nuclear power, Singhbhum belt, uranium price, uranium production, uranium resources, nuclear energy, India, USA, United States, Indo?US civil nuclear cooperation, pressurised heavy water reactors, PHWRs
Why does India require uranium through the 123 Agreement?
The government of India has taken a deliberate stand that nuclear power should be one of the components of the energy mix that the country should have for sustained economic growth. A base for this was laid in the 1960s to 1970s in collaboration with USA and Canada. However, a major part of the development, in recent decades, has been indigenous. This came about after international sanctions were imposed following India's underground nuclear explosions, carried out first in 1974 and later in 1998. As a blessing in disguise, the country attained a high degree of self-reliance in all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, particularly with respect to Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). There are plans to increase the present 4,000 MWe capacity to 20,000 by 2020. The 123 Agreement is a way out to boost scarce uranium resources and let in enriched uranium reactors with fuel, to attain the target and to go forward.