Uranium imports must to bridge energy demand: Kakodkar


Kolkata : India needs to import large amounts of uranium to meet its nuclear energy requirements till it fully explores its internal reserves, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairperson Anil Kakodkar said here Thursday.

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“India’s three-stage Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) is going on in a self reliant manner. But, since we’re a resource-deficient country, we need to import required resources from outside in a very large manner,” Kakodkar said at an interactive seminar organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce (CCC).

Kakodkar said: “India’s energy demand will be almost 10 times higher by 2050 compared to what it is now. Even after exploiting our domestic resources to the optimal lever, country’s total energy deficit will be around 25-30 percent. If we want to bridge this energy shortfall by importing coal, we’ll have to buy 1.6 billion of coal annually.

“To meet national energy requirement, we should focus on uranium import for a certain time, till we explore our own internal uranium reserves within the country. India is one of those very few countries which has an expertise to generate nuclear energy with indigenous technology.”

He said: “Though India has uranium resources, the quality of the mineral is very low.”

India has a three-stage NPP – pressurised heavy water reactor, fast breeders reactor and advanced nuclear power system. The programme was formulated to use the available uranium and thorium reserves found in the monazite sands of coastal regions of southern India.

Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd (NPCIL), which operates nuclear power plants in India, is spearheading the nuclear power programme in the country. India plans to put up a total installed nuclear power capacity of 20,000 MWe by the year 2020.

India’s NPP has fourteen reactors in operation that includes two Boiling Water Reactors (BWR) and 12 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR).

“We’re definitely dependant on external energy imports but as far as the technology is concerned, we have the expertise in our own country,” Kaodkar said, adding that there are programmes going on in India to explore Uranium mines and set up nuclear reactors.