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India Says Russia To Supply Nuclear Fuel

A nuclear reactor at the Moscow Engineering and Physical Institute (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) March 15, 2006 -- India says it will receive nuclear fuel from Russia to operate two atomic power reactors.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said that at India's request Russia has agreed to supply a limited amount of uranium fuel for the units of the Tarapur atomic power station in western Maharashtra state.

The deal is expected to be discussed during a visit to New Delhi this week by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is not permitted to receive nuclear fuel from members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which includes Russia. But the fuel shipment would be made under a safety clause, which allows transfers to prevent a potential atomic hazard.

The deal was disclosed after India and the United States earlier this month agreed a deal under which India would receive nuclear equipment and fuel from the United States in exchange for placing its civilian nuclear facilities under international safeguards. That deal still must be approved by the U.S. Congress.

(compiled from agency reports)

Russia's Nuclear Power Sector

Russia's Nuclear Power Sector

Click on the map to view the locations of Russia's civilian nuclear power plants.

POWER OF THE ATOM: As Russia's economy recovers from the collapse of the 1990s, the government is moving forward with plans to expand its nuclear-energy sector. Russia currently has 31 civilian nuclear-power reactors in operation, with the newest being Kalinin-3, which came on line in 2004. Nuclear power accounts for 16 percent of Russia's total power generation. Three additional reactors are currently under construction.

Many of Russia's reactors are quite old. In 2000, the government announced plans to extend the working lifetime of 12 first-generation reactors. So far, seven of these reactors have been upgraded for 15-year extensions and all 12 of them are expected to be replaced by 2020.

Russia controls about 4 percent of the world's known uranium deposits, producing some 2,900 tons of uranium in 2002. Russia has four operating uranium-enrichment plants, the largest of which is located at Novouralsk near Yekaterinburg.

The government has not yet approved a proposal for a permanent nuclear-waste storage facility on the Kola Peninsula.