India and Nuclear Power
India could soon join a select group of countries like US, China and France which export nuclear reactors, a Congressional report has said.
"Only Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States export nuclear reactors. India may join this group in the near term," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report 'Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries Issue for Congress.'
CRS is the independent and bipartisan research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic report on issues of interest to the lawmakers.
According to World Nuclear Association, India is offering its indigenous 220 and 540 megawatt heavy water reactor designs for export, although no specific customers have been identified.
The CRS report said only a limited number of countries conduct commercial enrichment and reprocessing of fissile materials and can supply this technology.
At present, supplier states are not planning any transfers of enrichment or reprocessing technology. The Nuclear Suppliers Group recently added criteria to its guidelines for the supply of fuel cycle technologies.
"Commercial reprocessing is now being done in France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, and India."
China has a pilot plant and is "considering a large-scale facility... South Korea is pursuing a research and development program on pyro-processing," the report said.
"Some countries with few natural energy resources, such as Japan, argue that they want to reprocess their spent fuel to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources. Reprocessing proponents in those countries prefer a closed fuel cycle, in which spent nuclear fuel from reactors is used to make fuel for other reactors; opponents raise questions about proliferation risks and high economic costs," it said.
India`s nuclear power aspirations just got a boost thanks to a lucky find. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has discovered that the upcoming uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh's Tumalapalli has close to 49,000 tonnes of uranium — three times the original estimate of the area`s deposits. In fact, there are indications that the total quantity could go up to 1.5 lakh tonnes, which would make it among the largest uranium mines in the world.
The quantity is sufficient for supporting a nuclear power plant of 8,000 MW capacity for 40 years. Production will start in six months. Srikumar Banerjee, secretray of DAE and chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, announced the discovery during the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the seventh and eighth units of the Rawatbhata atomic power project.
"It`s confirmed that the mine has 49,000 tonnes of ore, and there are indications that the total quantity could be three times of that amount. If that be the case, it will become the largest uranium mine in the world. The plant is ready, and will begin production by the end of this year," Banerjee said.
Now, India has two functioning uranium mines — both in Jharkhand. The total reserves are estimated to be in the range of 1,70,000 tonnes. The discovery of the Tumalapalli deposit has at one stroke boosted the availability of uranium, lowering the country`s dependence on foreign supplies.
India has been procuring uranium on various terms from countries like France and Kazakhstan but does not yet have a long-term supply contract.
India continues to fancy nuclear energy as a possible solution for its energy needs. Unlike some other countries which have been forced to temper their enthusiasm for nuclear energy post-Fukushima, the UPA government is persisting with its push for what is considered to be the cleanest source of energy.
The fact that Tumalapalli may have uranium reserves has been known for a while, but it took four years for the estimate to come to the present level from 15,000 tonnes in 2007. A 220-MW plant requires 45 tonnes of uranium per year, a 540-MW plant needs 80 tonnes and a 700-MW plant requires 100 tonnes per year.
Banerjee said that the fact that the usual acidic method of leaching would not have worked in Tumalapalli took some time for a full exploration of the reserves. "We developed the method of acidic leaching in the Jadugoda mines in Jharkhand. Subsequent exploration showed that reserves are spread across a 35-km radius," he said.
The countdown has started for the seventh and eighth units of the Rawatbhata power project, which is all set to have two indigenously built 700 MW capacity plants — the biggest in the country. The plants, being built at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore, are likely to be ready by 2016. As per the revised policy, 50% of the energy output will be for consumption in Rajasthan, and the rest will be given to the Northern Grid.
S K Jain, CMD of the Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited, announced plans of constructing 14 plants of 700 MW capacity each over the next few years.
A number of uranium mines are proposed to come up along the 160 km belt in southern Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and other states, according to chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Srikumar Bannerjee .
Delivering the 33rd annual convocation at the Indian School of Mines (ISM) here, Banerjee said although mining for uranium in India commissioned in 1968, no uranium mine has been closed so far. The Uranium Corporation of India Limited, a public sector undertaking under the department of atomic energy with its headquarters at Jaduguda, has been operating five underground mines (Jaduguda, Narwarpahar, Turamdih, Bhatin and Bagiara) and one open cast mine at Banduhurang and two ore processing plants in East Singhbhum district, more mines will be opened shortly.
Banerjee said all these units were located in strategically significant places, Singhbhum Shear Zone, known for its uranium-copper resources. Two uranium mines and a processing plant are being constructed at Timmalapalle in AP and Gogi in Karnataka.
AEC chief also said that since fossil fuels would not be able to meet the energy requirements, innovative technologies for clean and efficient combustion and for carbon dioxide sequestration were required. This is to control carbon dioxide emission. Most of the uranium deposits are of good quality. "Today, we are witnessing the disastrous effects of carbon-based energy coal, oil and natural gas on environment. There has to be a paradigm shift in the entire philosphy of enery utilisation. In future, energy will have to come from burning of atoms in fission reactions in a critical or sub-critical nuclear reactor and in fusion reactions in a thermonuclear reactor on the Earth or from that of the Sun," said Banerjee.
Nuclear energy is a primary source of energy with a large growth potential and therefore any India specific energy strategy must consider nuclear energy as a major alternative. "While our known urnanium resources are low, we have extremely rich reserves of thorium ,which can be converted into fissile form for generating nuclear energy. "The current share of nuclear power in India is three per cent , but it is poised to grow steadily. India has already developed adequate core competence in all aspects of nuclear energy and its roadmap for the three stage nuclear programmes provides a blueprint for achieving sustainable energy security," the nuclear scientist said.
[The first stage of pressurised heavy water reactor has been developed indigenously. India is now self-sufficent and the second stage of nuclear energy programme is based on fast breeder reactors, which are fuelled by plutonium obtained from reprocessing of spent fuel of the thermal reactors. The fast breeder test reactor at Kalpakkam, operating with indigenously developed mixed uranium-plutonium carbide fuel has achieved burn up of 155,000 MWd tonne. The prototype fast breeder reactor of 500 MW capacity is currently under construction at Kalpakkam. The third stage will be based on thorium U 233 cycle.Many of these technologies have to be developed for the first time and independetly in India, since no other country is as much dependent on the early implementation of the thorium fuel cycle as India is, Dr Banerjee said in his convocation speech.
Scientists at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research have successfully extended the life of the 25-year-old 'workhorse' among India's fast breeders -- Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR)-- by another 20 years.
"We have extended the life of the FBTR for another 20 years up to 2030 at 50% operational capacity," said Baldev Raj, director of IGCAR, Kalpakkam.
"The workhorse reactor has completed 25 successful years. It has given confidence to the Indian scientists to go ahead and build the first 500 MW (electrical) Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) which is under advanced stage of construction; and at least four more fast breeder reactors (FBRs) by 2020," he said.
FBTR is also a training ground for the operation and maintenance staff of PFBR and will be the cradle for trained manpower of India's fast Breeder Reactor programme.
"FBTR uses Plutonium-carbide fuel while the PFBR will be using mixed oxide (Plutonium-uranium oxide) fuel. But the future fast breeders will use Uranium-Plutonium alloy or Uranium-Plutonium-Zirconium," he said.
In the coming years, the major thrust of FBTR will be large-scale irradiation of the advanced metallic fuels and core structural materials required for the next generation fast reactors with high breeding ratios, Raj said.
For this, a programme for the fabrication of metallic fuel pins, their irradiation in FBTR, and closing the fuel cycle by pyro-reprocessing was in place.
Once this is successfully done, FBTR would have fulfilled its major mission in the Indian fast breeder reactor programme.
IGCAR is also exploring other applications like production of medical isotopes in FBTR.
"We expect to complete all these tests by 2020 so that we can build a metallic test reactor as a successor to FBTR," Raj said.
The designing of the 300 MW (thermal) metallic fast breeder test reactor will be completed by the end of 12th five-year plan and thereafter both FBTR and the new metallic test reactor will be operational simultaneously for a few years, Raj said, adding FBTR will be later shut down.
IGCAR's vast experience in the fast breeder technologies was also being used to contribute to many issues of designing and materials for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), he said.
"After 2030 India would not need any uranium as the nuclear fuel as by then it would be able to use thorium as the nuclear fuel, research for which is being carried on for the past 25 years. The deal would help the country bridge the gap of uranium, needed for nuclear power generation after 2020." He added that since India has the biggest Thorium deposits in the black sands of Kerala coast, we would become self-reliant in producing nuclear power.
How could you match the GDP growth, as predicted by the government, without having the needed power and if the country goes with thermal energy, it will again result in increasing the carbon emission, Prof Mittal said.
About the recent controversy regarding the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, Prof Mittal said nuclear power plants are located at least 200 miles away from the coal mines and the potential areas are not just picked up randomly. There is a site selection committee which suggests names of a place after taking into account various factors like flora and fauna, number of people that would be displaced, etc. The same was done in terms of Jaitapur, which is a new proposed 9900 MW power project of Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district where six nuclear reactors would come up with the help of France. It will be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating once completed, he added.
French energy major Areva, which is supplying nuclear fuel for Indian reactors, has offered partnership stakes to the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in its uranium producing mines abroad. "We have offered to NPCIL and the Atomic Energy Commission to invest with us in our new and existing uranium mining projects," chairman and managing director, Areva India, Arthur de Montalembert told HT in an exclusive chat. "NPCIL has shown interest and talks are progressing for a stake in some uranium mines in Africa."
Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) would soon sign an agreement with Uranium Corporation of India (UCI), both state-run companies, for a joint venture to acquire mining assets abroad to procure uranium. They're looking at mining assets in Nigeria , Namibia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The JV would also focus on the procurement of uranium from these assets, as well as other sources.
NPC's chairman and managing director, S K Jain, told Business Standard; "UCI has domain knowledge in uranium mining, while NPC has the necessary funds for the proposed investments. NPC will have a majority stake of 74 per cent, while 26 per cent would be held by UCI in the proposed JV. The JV would have a working capital of Rs 15 billion [US$ 336 million] and it expects to invest Rs 50 billion [US$ 1.12 billion] over the next five years in the acquisition of mining assets in the four shortlisted countries."
Around 60 tonnes of natural uranium from French company AREVA is expected to arrive at Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad in a day or two and around the same quantity from Russian company TVEL in a week's time, sources in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said on Monday.
French energy firm Areva has signed an agreement with government-run monopoly Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to supply about 300 tonnes of uranium annually. This is the first major nuclear fuel supply agreement by the Indian firm after the approval of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
The United States is keen to share technical expertise with India on uranium mining, US Consul General Beth A Payne said here today. "We can certainly explore options and opportunities available. Maybe we can partner with the government and share our experience and expertise on how to mine uranium safely," Payne, who is on three day visit to Meghalaya, said. The uranium mining project in the state was yet to start due to opposition from organisations apprehending health and environmental hazards.
India is expected to achieve self-sufficiency in uranium production to feed its existing nuclear power projects and proposed plants by 2013, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said. With the Jadugoda Uranium mill in Jharkhand expanded and the proposed expansion of Turamdih mill expected to be over next year, uranium production would go up. Besides, exploration of uranium is underway at Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh and it is expected to go on stream by 2013, he told reporters here. "We are also working to explore uranium at Gogi near Gulbarga in Karnataka," he said and expressed the hope that a proposed project at Meghalaya would also be cleared soon.
India's BARC and France's CEA cooperate on development of uranium recovery from desalination plant brines
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) external link and the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) external link, France, are collaborating to develop three innovative and efficient methods of uranium extraction from the concentrated brine rejected by integrated nuclear desalination systems, which both partners are currently developing.
The first method uses resin-grafted with calixarene (a synthetic material, indecently expensive!); magnetic separation is the second method and the third uses a canal system using absorbents. These methods are highly selective but need further research and development. (The Hindu 12 Nov 2009)
India tests new method to extract uranium from sea water
Japan developed a technology by using plastic sheets to which amidoxime, which is capable of selectively absorbing uranium from seawater, is grafted by high energy electron beam irradiation. Scientists from the Desalination Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre recovered uranium at milligram levels from sea water using electron beam grafted amidoxime. They developed a semi pilot scale facility to produce radiation grafted sheets of 1 metre x 1 metre size. They collected about 800 microgrammes of uranium in five campaigns from CIRUS Jettyhead; about 1.8 milligrammes from the seawater intake and outfall canals at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station and around 200 microgrammes from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Though these amounts are trivial, it gives confidence in the technology. Field trials carried out at the three locations gave concentration factors of 300, 600 and 700 for the submergence of the absorbent material for 12, 14 and 23 days respectively. (The Hindu 12 Nov 2009)
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) external link has reported "significant progress" in its attempts to bio-recover uranium from sea water and dilute nuclear waste using natural and genetically-engineered microbes. BARC's attempts to viably extricate uranium from sea water have also begun yielding "very positive" results, according to officials. Sea water is known to contain uranium but the low concentration of the nuclear fuel and high cost of its extraction has traditionally inhibited the option of commercial sourcing of uranium from the seas. The BARC method involves passing sea water through a specially made polymer that will absorb uranium selectively. According to estimates, nearly 4.6 billion tonnes of uranium are estimated to be present in sea water, with Japanese scientists in the 1980s having demonstrated that extraction of uranium from sea water using ion-exchangers was feasible. (The Hindu June 30, 2008)
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) external link in Mumbai has developed a method for extracting uranium from sea water, according to the BARC annual report. The BARC method involves passing sea water through a specially made radiation induced polymer that will selectively absorb uranium. Laboratory studies showed that the material could absorb as much as 45 per cent of uranium present in sea water. The report said that on the basis of laboratory data, BARC is getting ready to build, in the first step, a bench scale plant that will produce 100 grams of uranium per year from sea water. Bigger plants will be decided after working out the cost benefit analysis.
On April 16, 2011, India and Kazakhstan signed an inter-governmental agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, that envisages a legal framework for supply of fuel, construction and operation of atomic power plants, exploration and joint mining of uranium, exchange of scientific and research information, reactor safety mechanisms and use of radiation technologies for healthcare.
After the talks, the Kazakh President announced that his country would supply India with 2100 tonnes of uranium and was ready to do more.
India and Kazakhstan already have civil nuclear cooperation since January 2009 when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm signed an MoU during the visit of Nazarbaev to Delhi. Under the contract, KazAtomProm supplies uranium which is used by Indian reactors.
Canada's uranium exports to India
Ontario ready to supply uranium to India
Ontario, one of Canada's most important provinces, has said it is ready to supply nuclear fuel uranium along with cobalt to India. "From uranium and nickel to cobalt and potash, Ontario and the rest of Canada stand ready to supply India during its next industrial surge forward," Ontario Minister for Government Services, Harinder Takhar said on the occasion of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Ontario.
Canada, India sign nuclear agreement allowing uranium exports to India
India and Canada on Sunday (June 27) signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement that will provide for cooperation in civil nuclear energy including import of uranium and equipment from Canada.
Canada, India ink nuclear agreement
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced over the weekend Ottawa and Delhi have reached a nuclear agreement. Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inked the deal in Trinidad and Tobago. Under the agreement, Canadian firms could resume sales of nuclear and uranium technologies to India which was stopped in the middle of the 1970s. Harper said Ottawa will release the text of the nuclear agreement with India after the implementing legislation is table in Canada's Parliament.Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrapped up a three-day visit to India confirming Canadian companies may be allowed to start selling uranium and other nuclear material and technology to India before Christmas.
India to mine uranium in Mongolia
India and Mongolia on Wednesday (Jan. 13) decided to operationalise their pact on civil nuclear cooperation by assisting in capacity creation for Ulan Bator's nuclear sector and considering the manner in which India would begin uranium mining in Mongolia. India Monday (Sep. 14) signed a uranium supply agreement with Mongolia, the fifth country to seal a civil nuclear pact with New Delhi, and announced a soft loan of $25 million to rejuvenate the economy of the resource-rich Central Asian country.
Gabon willing to supply uranium to non-NPT signatory India
Gabon has conveyed that it will not be averse to supplying uranium to India. Sources tracking India's engagement of Africa told this newspaper that Gabon is willing to enter into a commercial transaction with India. New Delhi is studying the possibility of reciprocating by enhancing its civil and military cooperation with Gabon, a source said, adding that the Mumbai-based Taurian Resources has made a foray into Niger's uranium mining industry.
Further Indian company granted uranium exploration permits in Niger
The Earthstone group external link, a diversified multinational group headed by non-resident Indian Pankaj Shah, has, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Earthstone Uranium FZE, entered into an agreement with the Government of the Republic of Niger, whereby the Republic of Niger will grant Earthstone Uranium four exploration permits for uranium and associated elements. The four permits totalling about 2,000 sq. km. are part of the Tim Mersoi sedimentary basin. These permits in Niger are in regions now producing uranium, including the Akouta underground mine and Arlit open pit mine operated by Areva.
Indian company granted uranium exploration and mining permit in Niger
Taurian Resources Pvt Ltd. external link has recently won a contract which gives it exclusive rights over 3,000 sq. km. of the Sahara Desert known to be rich in deposits of uranium. According to the estimates of the Managing Director of the company, Sachin Bajla, the area in the Arlit region is likely to hold at least 30,000 tonnes of uranium.
Nuclear power stations of 1000 megawatt electrical generation capacity (1000 MWe or 1 gigawatt electrical = 1GWe) require around 200 tonnes (440×103 lb) of uranium per year. For example, the United States has 103 operating reactors with an average generation capacity of 950 MWe demanded over 22 kilotonnes (49×106 lb) of uranium in 2005. As population and industrialization increases, more nuclear power plants will be built. As the number of nuclear power plants increase, so does the demand for uranium.
The largest energy-consuming class in the history of earth is being produced in world’s most populated countries, China and India. Both plan massive nuclear energy expansion programs. China intends to build 32 nuclear plants with 40,000 MWe capacity by 2020.According to the World Nuclear Association, India plans on bringing 20,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020, and aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. The World Nuclear Association believes nuclear energy could reduce the fossil fuel burden of generating the new demand for electricity.
Present knowledge of the distribution of thorium resources is poor because of the relatively low-key exploration efforts arising out of insignificant demand. There are two sets of estimates that define world thorium reserves, one set by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the other supported by reports from the OECD and the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA). Under the USGS estimate, USA, Australia and India have particularly large reserves of thorium.
Both the IAEA and OECD appear to conclude that India may actually possess the lion's share of world's thorium deposits.
India and Australia are believed to possess about 300,000 tonnes each; i.e. each country possessing 25% of the world's thorium reserves. However, in the OECD reports, estimates of Australian's Reasonably Assured Reserves (RAR) of thorium indicate only 19,000 tonnes and not 300,000 tonnes as indicated by USGS. The two sources vary wildly for countries such as Brazil, Turkey, and Australia. However, both reports appear to show some consistency with respect to India's thorium reserve figures, with 290,000 tonnes (USGS) and 319,000 tonnes (OECD/IAEA).
Furthermore the IAEA report mentions that India possesses two thirds (67%) of global reserves of monazite, the primary thorium ore. The IAEA also states that recent reports have upgraded India's thorium deposits up from approximately 300,000 tonnes to 650,000 tonnes.
Thorium fuel cycle development in India
The long-term goal of India's nuclear program has been to develop an advanced heavy-water thorium cycle.The first stage of this employs the PHWRs fuelled by natural uranium, and light water reactors, to produce plutonium.
Stage 2 uses fast neutron reactors burning the plutonium to breed U-233 from thorium. The blanket around the core will have uranium as well as thorium, so that further plutonium (ideally high-fissile Pu) is produced as well as the U-233.
Then in stage 3, Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWRs) burn the U-233 from stage 2 and this plutonium with thorium, getting about two thirds of their power from the thorium.
In 2002 the regulatory authority issued approval to start construction of a 500 MWe prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam and this is now under construction by BHAVINI. It is expected to be operating in 2012, fuelled with uranium-plutonium oxide (the reactor-grade Pu being from its existing PHWRs). It will have a blanket with thorium and uranium to breed fissile U-233 and plutonium respectively. This will take India's ambitious thorium program to stage 2, and set the scene for eventual full utilisation of the country's abundant thorium to fuel reactors. Six more such 500 MWe fast reactors have been announced for construction, four of them by 2020.
So far about one tonne of thorium oxide fuel has been irradiated experimentally in PHWR reactors and has reprocessed and some of this has been reprocessed, according to BARC. A reprocessing centre for thorium fuels is being set up at Kalpakkam.
Design is largely complete for the first 300 MWe AHWR, which was intended to be built in the 11th plan period to 2012, though no site has yet been announced. It will have vertical pressure tubes in which the light water coolant under high pressure will boil, circulation being by convection. A large heat sink - "Gravity-driven water pool" - with 7000 cubic metres of water is near the top of the reactor building. In April 2008 an AHWR critical facility was commissioned at BARC “to conduct a wide range of experiments, to help validate the reactor physics of the AHWR through computer codes and in generating nuclear data about materials, such as thorium-uranium 233 based fuel, which have not been extensively used in the past.” It has all the components of the AHWR’s core including fuel and moderator, and can be operated in different modes with various kinds of fuel in different configurations.
In 2009 the AEC announced some features of the 300 MWe AHWR: It is mainly a thorium-fuelled reactor with several advanced passive safety features to enable meeting next-generation safety requirements such as three days grace period for operator response, elimination of the need for exclusion zone beyond the plant boundary, 100-year design life, and high level of fault tolerance. The advanced safety characteristics have been verified in a series of experiments carried out in full-scale test facilities. Also, per unit of energy produced, the amount of long-lived minor actinides generated is nearly half of that produced in current generation Light Water Reactors. Importantly, a high level of radioactivity in the fissile and fertile materials recovered from the used fuel of AHWR, and their isotopic composition, preclude the use of these materials for nuclear weapons. In mid 2010 a pre-licensing safety appraisal had been completed by the AERB and site selection was in progress. The AHWR can be configured to accept a range of fuel types including enriched U, U-Pu MOX, Th-Pu MOX, and U-233-Th MOX in full core.
At the same time the AEC announced an LEU version of the AHWR. This will use low-enriched uranium plus thorium as a fuel, dispensing with the plutonium input. About 39% of the power will come from thorium (via in situ conversion to U-233, cf two thirds in AHWR), and burn-up will be 64 GWd/t. Uranium enrichment level will be 19.75%, giving 4.21% average fissile content of the U-Th fuel. While designed for closed fuel cycle, this is not required. Plutonium production will be less than in light water reactors, and the fissile proportion will be less and the Pu-238 portion three times as high, giving inherent proliferation resistance. The design is intended for overseas sales, and the AEC says that "the reactor is manageable with modest industrial infrastructure within the reach of developing countries".
By December 2008, Russia's Rosatom and Areva from France had contracted to supply uranium for power generation, while Kazakhstan, Brazil and South Africa were preparing to do so. The Russian agreement was to provide fuel for PHWRs as well as the two small Tarapur reactors, the Areva agreement was to supply 300 tU.
In February 2009 the actual Russian contract was signed with TVEL to supply 2000 tonnes of natural uranium fuel pellets for PHWRs over ten years, costing $780 million, and 58 tonnes of low-enriched fuel pellets for the Tarapur reactors. The Areva shipment arrived in June 2009. RAPS-2 became the first PHWR to be fuelled with imported uranium, followed by units 5 & 6 there.
In January 2009 NPCIL signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazatomprom for supply of 2100 tonnes of uranium concentrate over six years and a feasibility study on building Indian PHWR reactors in Kazakhstan. NPCIL said that it represented "a mutual commitment to begin thorough discussions on long-term strategic relationship." Under this agreement, 300 tonnes of natural uranium will come from Kazakhstan in the 2010-11 year. Another 210 t will come from Russia. A further agreement in April 2011 covered 2100 tonnes by 2014.
In September 2009 India signed uranium supply and nuclear cooperation agreements with Namibia and Mongolia. In March 2010 Russia offered India a stake in the Elkon uranium mining development in its Sakha Republic, and agreed on a joint venture with ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.
In July 2010 the Minister for Science & Technology reported that India had received 868 tU from France, Russia & Kazakhstan in the year to date: 300 tU natural uranium concentrate from Areva, 58 tU as enriched UO2 pellets from Areva, 210 tU as natural uranium oxide pellets from TVEL and 300 tU as natural uranium from Kazatomprom.
As of August 2010 the DAE said that seven reactors (1400 MWe) were using imported fuel and working at full power, nine reactors (2630 MWe) used domestic uranium.