Dependence on imported Uranium fuel

Prime Minister

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA DEPARTMENT OF ATOMIC ENERGY RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.2881 TO BE ANSWERED ON 19.03.2020 DEPENDENCE ON IMPORTED URANIUM FUEL 2881. DR. AMAR PATNAIK: Will the PRIME MINISTER be pleased to state: (a) the present dependence on imported Uranium fuel for use in civil reactors, the details thereof; (b) the present production of Uranium fuel domestically, the details thereof; (c) the targeted timeline for the introduction of commercial Thorium based reactors and steps taken towards this target; and (d) the details thereof? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES AND PENSIONS AND PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE (DR. JITENDRA SINGH) (a) At present fourteen reactors (4380 MW) out of the twenty two reactors (6780 MW) in operation are fuelled by imported Uranium. (b) Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), a Public Sector Undertaking under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been entrusted the mandate of mining and processing of Uranium. However, it is not in public interest to disclose the quantity of production of Uranium by UCIL. (c)&(d) The country's three stage Nuclear Power Programme emphasises utilization of vast Thorium resources available in the country. However, large scale deployment of commercial Thorium based reactors would be targeted after a few decades of deployment of Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) which constitute the second stage of Nuclear Power Programme. Thorium is not a fissile element and hence its commercial utilisation can be undertaken only after adequate availability of fissile materials like Plutonium or Uranium-233 which is envisioned through deployment of FBRs.