The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval to the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Australia that came into effect on 13 November this year. The move has further eased the supply of imported uranium for India’s nuclear power plants.
“The civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia was brought into force on November 13 along with the administrative arrangement for implementing the agreement,” a cabinet communique said after the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The fuel supply arrangements with Australia will bolster energy security by supporting the expansion of nuclear power in India,” it said.
India and Australia started talks on the nuclear cooperation pact in 2012 after the latter lifted its ban on selling uranium to India. The agreement was signed during the then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to New Delhi.
Notably, India will now become the first country to buy uranium without being a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
Australia is the third largest producer of uranium. However, it does not operate nuclear power plants in the country. India currently has nuclear energy agreements with 11 countries and has signed long-term agreements for supply of uranium from Kazakhstan and CanadListing some of the recent measures to boost nuclear power generation in the country, the statement said: “Commercial negotiations between Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Westinghouse for construction of 6 units of the AP-1000 reactor at Mithi Virdi, Gujarat are on course for finalization in 2016.”