‘India keen to acquire uranium mines in Australia’
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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.


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

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