Current Affairs: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Australia.
The civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia was brought into force on 13 November 2015 along with the Administrative Arrangement for implementing the Agreement.
The fuel supply arrangements with Australia will bolster energy security by supporting the expansion of nuclear power in India.
The reaching of agreement on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan during Prime Minister Abe’s visit to India on December 12, 2015 brought to a close five years of negotiation on this issue. This path breaking development was made possible by strong engagement at the level of leaders.
The implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. was put back on course when Prime Minister hosted President Obama in New Delhi on January 25-27, 2015.
Since then, the Administrative Arrangement for implementing the agreement has been signed and the India Nuclear Insurance Pool set up to implement the understanding on civil nuclear liability, which has addressed international and domestic concerns on India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act of 2010.
Commercial negotiations between NPCIL and Westinghouse for construction of 6 units of the AP-1000 reactor at Mithi Virdi, Gujarat are on course for finalization in 2016.
Civil nuclear cooperation with Russia and France has also been taken forward during the year. During Prime Minister’s visit to France in April 2015, a MoU between M/s Larsen and Toubro and M/s Areva aimed at cost reduction by increasing localization for the Jaitapur project in Maharashtra was signed.
On December 22, 2015, during Prime Minister’s visit to Russia, a Joint Programme of Action for Localization of Manufacturing in India for Russian-designed Nuclear Power Plants was signed. A minimum of 12 reactor units will be built with Russian collaboration.
Following the signing of a contract for long-term supply of uranium during Prime Minister’s visit to Canada in April 2015, the first consignment of uranium reached India in December 2015. Likewise, a long term contract for purchase of uranium was signed during Prime Minister’s visit to Kazakhstan in July 2015.
In combination with initiatives taken at home, in particular the passage through the Parliament of the amendment to the Atomic Energy Act for enabling NPCIL to enter into joint ventures with other PSUs, these agreements have laid a solid foundation for the expansion of nuclear energy in India. A promising area has at last been energized for implementation.