Financial crisis could help India develop nuclear sector: Saran

October 21st, 2008 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) The current global financial crisis could work to India’s advantage by throwing up a buyer’s market of nuclear power plants, a top government official said here Tuesday.“The current situation may be a blessing in disguise,” Shyam Saran, the prime minister’s special envoy on the India-US nuclear deal, said.

In his address at a seminar on ‘Civil Nuclear Deal: The Indian Opportunity’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Saran said: “There has been a significant slowing down of sourcing of nuclear plants by the advanced countries, and there are signs of softening of the uranium market.”

India should cash in on this situation before the window closes as the global crisis abates, he said.

India came out of its decades long nuclear isolation last month, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) gave a special waiver to the country for nuclear commerce and trade.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also approved an India-specific safeguards agreement. Subsequently, the US and India signed the bilateral agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation, after it was approved by the US Congress.

Saran said India has now a wide choice of suppliers and can source uranium from different countries.

“We can get supplies from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Niger, and (we are) already thinking of a mining and exploration agreement with Mongolia,” he said.

Russia is already building two nuclear plants at Kundankulam. “There are more in the pipline when (Russian President Dmitry) Medvedev visits us,” said Saran.

He added that the NSG waiver has also enabled India collaborate in the fuel cycle. “We have also got interest from Brazil and South Africa. Canadians are interested in working with us on the CANDU reactor, which is originally Canadian but has been developed further,” Saran said.

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