‘N-deal will help India invest in uranium mining elsewhere’

July 23rd, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Kalpakkam, July 23 (IANS) A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government won the parliamentary trust vote over the India-US nuclear deal, a top scientist said here Wednesday that the deal will enable India to invest in enrichment facilities and uranium mining in other countries. Speaking on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) unit-1, M.R. Srinivasan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, said India’s plutonium “will be freed for strategic purposes” as eight nuclear reactors would not come under the safeguards agreement.

“We also need to establish a uranium fuel reserve to be able to proceed toward long-term use of thorium,” he added.

“India will not be a dumping ground for light water reactors,” Srinivasan said, adding that though the country will have to import light water reactors initially, “India will be able to assimilate the technology” and “we can build components for such light water reactors for the world”.

Calling the nuclear deal “a good agreement”, Srinivasan said: “It is in India’s interest to open nuclear commerce with Russia, the US, France and Canada”.

“If we (India) can get enriched uranium from Russia, France, the UK and the US, we can also invest in enrichment facilities and uranium mining in other countries,” he said.

Pointing out that India builds reactors at the lowest cost and has considerably shortened the commissioning time, Srinivasan said: “We expect to build the first 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactor in five years.”

He added that with the deal, India has become a major player in the international system. “They (the international community) have co-opted us, knowing we can build our own civil power plants.”

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