Sunday, 7 September 2008

Nuclear Suppliers Group's waiver of embargo against India: Hyderabad to play a global role

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 6: The Nuclear Suppliers Group's decision to lift trade embargo on India will push Hyderabad onto the international nuclear map with the city-based Nuclear Fuel Complex and private companies playing a major role in the world atomic market.
The NFC, controlled by the Department of Atomic Energy, will emerge a key player in nuclear energy not only in India but also in the international arena. The Complex has been single-handedly meeting the requirements of the country's nuclear energy needs despite NSG's trade embargo on India during the past 34 years. And it has built up self-reliance in nuclear fuel sector by encouraging private companies to assist it through certain critical components required for nuclear power stations.
"With the lifting of the embargo NFC may go global. It has the capacity to provide critical support to anyone in the world. In fact, NFC is the only institution of its kind in the world where natural and enriched uranium fuel, zirconium alloy cladding and reactor core components are manufactured under one roof starting from the raw materials," says a senior official of the Complex.
Moreover, Hyderabad has several ancillary units supplying components to NFC and other defence organisations. Now that decks have been cleared, these firms are likely to take up international deals, boosting India's role in the world nuclear sector. NFC and its supporting firms have already established their credentials by producing the excellent quality of nuclear fuel that enabled India's nuclear power plants to reach a global record of more than 90 per cent plant load factor. "NFC is ready to meet the increased demand for nuclear fuel that is expected to arise in the future," the official said. Already NFC is supplying 700 tonnes of uranium oxide to
the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited.
NFC has the capability to supply sub-assemblies and all stainless steel hardware including tubes, bars, sheets and springs for operating the fast breeder test reactor and prototype fast breeder reactor. The special materials plant at NFC manufactures high value, low volume, high purity special materials like tantalum, niobium, gallium and indium for applications in electronics, aerospace and defense sectors.
"A notable feature at the Nuclear Fuel Complex is that, apart from in-house process development, a lot of encouragement is given to the Indian industry for fabrication of plant equipments and automated systems," the NFC's official website points out highlighting the role the local industry is going the play in the area.
The Uranium Oxide Plant processes crude uranium concentrate to pure uranium di-oxide powder while the Ceramic Fuel Fabrication Plant produces sintered uranium oxide pellets. It has also the facility to process imported enriched uranium hexafluoride to enriched uranium oxide powder. Now this facility will get a boost in the post-NSG waiver.
According to sources, Hyderabad-based industries including NFC are likely to generate revenues of about Rs 500 crore initially once they go global. Many more private players are likely to join the race as India alone is poised to generate 20,000 mw nuclear power in the next 12 years. Moreover, it will also bring in foreign investments leading to mushrooming of nuclear power plants. Also Andhra Pradesh has sufficiently large resources of nuclear material and the State may attract investments once uranium mining in the State takes a concrete shape.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my view India is going to benefit from the deal. But the nation should be wary of American tactics.

S Janardhan Rao
Kadapa, AP, India

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