India is planning a tenfold increase in uranium production over the next 15 years, Minister of State Jitendra Singh told the country's parliament yesterday. State company Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) has outlined expansion plans to meet the Department of Atomic Energy's (DAE) vision of achieving self-sufficiency in uranium production.
In answer to questions in the Lok Sabha, Singh said UCIL, which is a public service undertaking with the DAE, has outlined a plan for "massive expansion" leading to a tenfold rise in uranium production by 2031-2032. The plan includes maintenance of sustained supply from existing facilities, capacity expansion of some existing units and construction of new production centres (mines and plants) in different parts of the country, he said.
"Considering the resources already identified in different geological basins by Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a constituent unit of DAE, UCIL's major production centres are planned in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan and Meghalaya," Singh said.
The expansion is planned in three phases, with the first expected to increase uranium production to 3.5 times existing levels by the "12th year". Completion of projects in the second phase is expected to achieve a sevenfold expansion over current production, with the third phase of projects leading to a tenfold increase over current levels by 2031-32.
According to the 2016 edition of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency joint report on uranium resources, production and demand (the 'Red Book'), India's known conventional uranium resources - reasonably assured resources and inferred - were estimated to be 181 606 tU as of January 2015. Uranium mills currently operate at Jadugudah and Turamdih, both in Jharkand, and Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh. India produced 385 tU in 2015. The AMD claimed to have established domestic uranium resources of 232,315 tU as of November last year.
India operates 22 nuclear reactors, eight of which are fuelled by indigenous uranium. Fourteen reactors are under international safeguards and use imported uranium. Six units - four indigenously designed pressurised heavy water reactors, a fast breeder reactor and a Russian-designed pressurised water reactor - are currently under construction. Construction is planned to begin on 19 further units within the next few years, including ten indigenously designed PHWRs which are scheduled to start up by 2031. Agreements envisage the import of uranium up to 2020, Singh said.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News