Uranium use must be efficient

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Shillong | Updated: Jan 14 2009, 03:44am hrs
Experts, like the principal scientific advisor to the government, R Chidambaran, are of the view that the costly commodity, uranium, should be efficiently utilised for producing nuclear power.

Expressing his views on the issue at the 96 th Indian Science Congress he said, To produce nuclear power it is essential to adopt 3-stage close cycle reactors which may allow to produce about 50 times more energy from the same amount of uranium than in case of one stage reactors presently being deployed. He said that the technology not only had the role in reducing the cost or minimising the feedstock but also in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Unless climate change is managed properly, it would cause a damaging effect on agriculture, water resources, public health, environment and ecology, he said.

The chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar is optimistic of nearly doubling the availability of nuclear power in the country by 2020. The current target is estimated at 20,000 MW.

He envisaged N-power parks comprising six to eight units of 1,000 MW each built over the next 9-10 years. The country's nuclear power programme had hitherto been constrained by limited fuel supplies, but with the signing of the India-US civilian nuclear deal and strategies to enhance domestic uranium supplies, India can well exceed the 2020 target, according to Kakodkar.

Country's first fast breeder reactor is under construction and is expected to be commissioned in 2010-11.

India is currently negotiating with several foreign vendors for uninterrupted supply of uranium and the right to re-process the spent fuel. India has already developed the recycle capabilities.