‘India keen to acquire uranium mines in Australia’

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 17:22

New Delhi: India looks forward to
opportunities to acquire uranium mines in Australia once it
reverses its policy against sale of the nuclear fuel to New
Delhi.

"Definitely, we are looking for that kind of
opportunity," Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar
Banerjee told PTI here on the sidelines of the Sustainable
Energy Summit organised by the India Energy Forum.

He was replying to questions whether India would consider
acquiring uranium mines in Australia which has now declared
its intent to lift the ban on sale of yellow cake to this
country.

However, Banerjee said acquiring mines abroad was a very
complex process, particularly when it comes to identifying the
entity directly involved.

"We are definitely interested in acquiring assets abroad
where ever they are be it Africa, Australia or elsewhere," he
said.

Australia has the world`s largest reserves of uranium and
the ore is considered to be of superior quality among those
found elsewhere across the globe.

Currently, Australia exports uranium to China, Japan,
Taiwan and the United States. However, it had declined sale to
India citing a policy that bars nuclear trade with countries
that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently
announced that she would reconsider the policy.

Meanwhile, India`s sole nuclear plant operator said that
it would re-start talks with French company Areva early next
year.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which
operates 20 nuclear power plants across the country, had said
it was waiting for the report of the French Nuclear Regulator
(ASN) on the review of Areva`s 1650 MWe EPR reactors in the
wake of the Fukushima disaster.

"The ASN report is expected in December or early January
2012," said Patrick Teyssier, Director (Marketing and
Strategy) Areva India.

"We hope the experts will submit their report on Areva
Jaitapur in December and discussions will begin in January
so," Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, Director (Technical), NPCIL said.

"We will begin discussions on the technical and
commercial aspects of the project," Bhardwaj said.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 17:22
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