To secure the energy needs of India, Dr. Homi Bhabha had conceptualized India’s three-stage nuclear power programme by working around India’s limited uranium resources in the 1950s. India’s nuclear deal with the world is very important to make India energy surplus in the future.
Uranium exploration, production and utilization are under the control of the Central Government. Only public sector companies under the Government of India are allowed to explore and mine atomic minerals viz. U, Th, etc.
Jaduguda in Singhbhum Thrust Belt (in the state of Jharkhand, formerly part of Bihar) is the first uranium deposit discovered in the country in 1951.
The Singhbhum Thrust Belt (also known as Singhbhum Copper belt or Singhbhum Shear Zone) is a zone of intense shearing and deep tectonization with less than 1km width and known for a number of copper deposits with associated nickel, molybdenum, bismuth, gold, silver etc. It extends in the shape of an arc for a length of about 160 km.
This finding of uranium at Jaduguda in this belt tiled the way for intensive exploration work and soon a few more deposits were brought to light in this area.
Some of these deposits like Bhatin, Narwapahar and Turamdih are well-known uranium mines of the country. Other deposits like Bagjata, Banduhurang and Mohuldih are being taken up for commercial mining operations.
Apart from discoveries in the Singhbhum Thrust Belt, several uranium occurrences have also been found in Cuddapah basin of Andhra Pradesh. These include Lambapur-Peddagattu, Chitrial, Kuppunuru, Tumallapalle, Rachakuntapalle which have significantly contributed towards the uranium reserve base of India.
In the Mahadek basin of Meghalaya in NorthEastern part of the country, sandstone-type uranium deposits like Domiasiat, Wahkhyn, Mawsynram provide near-surface flat orebodies amenable to commercial operations. Other areas in Rajasthan, Karnataka and Chattishgarh hold promise for developing into some major deposits.
Two agencies, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) and Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) under the Department of Atomic Energy are engaged in the exploration and mining of uranium. Respectively for its exclusive use as fuel in the nuclear power stations owned by Government of India.
Although Thorium reserve of India was significant but Thorium itself is not a fissile material, and thus cannot undergo fission to produce energy. Instead, it must be transmuted to uranium-233 in a reactor fuelled by other fissile materials.
Uranium deposits in India are generally small, lean in tenor and complex in nature of mineralization. With the globalization of the Indian economy, it has become imperative to develop these deposits in a cost-effective and eco-friendly manner assimilating the worldwide developments in science and technology.
In order to meet the time requirement of uranium, the government has moved for different nuclear agreements for the non-obstructive supply of Uranium to meet the energy needs.
USA helped in the construction of two boiling water reactor (BWR) units of 210 MWe each at Tarapur Atomic Power Station (T.A.P.S.) is located in Tarapur, Maharashtra. However, The United States and Canada terminated their assistance after the detonation of India’s first nuclear explosion in 1974.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was anchored to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. India refused to sign the treaty on the ground of discriminatory treatment & unfair.
After the 1998 nuclear test in Pokharan, USA and allies further imposed sanctions on India. However, India continued to play its diplomacy with the west and adhered to nonproliferation guidelines voluntarily.
Nuclear deal with the nations
Nuclear Agreement with France:
France was the first country to sign a civilian nuclear agreement with India on 30 September 2008 after the complete waiver provided by the NSG. During the December 2010 visit of the French President, Nicholas Sarkozy to India, framework agreements were signed for the setting up to third-generation EPR reactors of 1650 MW each at Jaitapur, Maharashtra by the French company Areva.
Nuclear Agreement with the USA:
India and USA have signed Agreement 123 for civil nuclear cooperation.
After NSG’s waiver to India to commence civilian nuclear trade in 2008, the US signed the agreement with India on civil nuclear cooperation and even convinced its allies to do so.
The Agreement would end technology denial regimes against India that have been in place for three decades and end India’s nuclear isolation. It will open the doors for India to have civil nuclear cooperation as an equal partner with the USA and the rest of the world.
Nuclear deal will enable us to meet the twin challenges of energy security and environmental sustainability. It will also have major spin-offs for the development of our industries, both public and private. At the same time, it will bring India the recognition it deserves thanks to the outstanding achievements of our scientists.
Recently, the USA and India have agreed to construct six nuclear reactors by US company Westinghouse in India. This will add significant capacity to India’s nuclear installations.
Nuclear Agreement with Russia:
Russia has an ongoing agreement of 1988 vintage with India regarding establishing of two VVER 1000 MW reactors (water-cooled water-moderated light water power reactors) at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu.
A 2008 agreement caters for the provision of an additional four third-generation VVER-1200 reactors of capacity 1170 MW each. Russia has assisted in India’s efforts to design a nuclear plant for its nuclear submarine.
Russia has assisted in India’s efforts to design a nuclear plant for its nuclear submarine. In 2009, the Russians stated that Russia would not agree to curbs on export of sensitive technology to India. A new accord signed in December 2009 with Russia gives India freedom to proceed with the closed fuel cycle, which includes mining, preparation of the fuel for use in reactors, and reprocessing of spent fuel.
On December 22, 2015, during Prime Minister’s visit to Russia, a Joint Programme of Action for Localization of Manufacturing in India for Russian-designed Nuclear Power Plants was signed. A minimum of 12 reactor units will be built with Russian collaboration.
Nuclear deal with Mongolia:
India and Mongolia signed a crucial civil nuclear deal on 15 June 2009 for the supply of Uranium to India, making it the fifth nation in the world to seal a civil nuclear pact with India.
Nuclear deal with Canada:
India and Canada signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010 which when all steps are taken, will provide access for Canada’s nuclear industry to India’s expanding nuclear market and also fuel for India’s reactors. Canada is one of the world’s largest exporters of uranium and Canada’s heavy water nuclear technology is marketed abroad with CANDU-type units operating in India, Pakistan, Argentina, South Korea, Romania and China.
Nuclear deal with Australia:
In 2014, India and Australia signed a civil nuclear agreement which allows the export of uranium to India. Australia is the third largest producer of uranium in the world. The agreement allows the supply of uranium for peaceful generation of power for civil use in India.
India and Britain have also signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.
Other countries with which India signed an agreement on the supply of nuclear fuel include Kazakhstan, while South Korea signed an agreement to help build the nuclear reactors in India.
The significance of India’s Nuclear Deal Or Agreements
- India is an energy-scarce country and most of its energy is derived from conventional fuels like coal and crude oil. In this behalf, the nuclear deal with the world would be crucial.
- Meanwhile, in the field of crude oil, India imports nearly 72% of its demand which is not only a drain on the foreign reserves but also posing significant environmental challenges.
- Also, in power generation near 60% of the power supply is thermally generated. It was 32.8 percent, one of the lowest among major coal-based power producing countries.
- It claimed that average CO2 emission was 1.08 kg per kWh, 14 percent higher than that of China. Also, reserves of conventional fuel are limited and not sustainable in long run.
- Thus India looked for the new sources for the power generation and nuclear energy is one of the options which can provide a solution to India’s energy security needs.
- Nuclear deal of supply of uranium with the countries like Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan and Namibia provide security of resources.
- Apart from it, India has the largest reserve of Thorium in the world which is near 963000 tonnes. This provides an opportunity for India to make on the resources available in the country.
- However, this is subjected to the technological capacity acquired by the country to exploit the available resource. After NSG offered a special waiver to India for its nuclear fuel requirements and technologies for peaceful use.
- Developed countries like USA, Germany, South Korea, Russia, Australia and the UK are looking at India as the largest market to offer their services, technologies and fuel.
- India’s Nuclear deal with these countries will boost the mutual cooperation & acquisition of cutting edge technology at a competitive rate.
- India also targeted to supply electricity to all villages by 2019. These requirements make the need for a sustainable source of power generation. Nuclear energy has the potential to cater to this need.
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