Uranium may head to India in 2015

The uranium industry is hoping to make trial shipments to India next year.

深圳桑拿网

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indian leader Narendra Modi have discussed the supply of Australian uranium for India’s nuclear power plants.

It follows their signing of a safeguards agreement in New Delhi in September, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent.

In his address to federal parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said he saw Australia as a major partner in his country’s quest to boost electricity production and address climate change.

“(We seek) energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt,” he said.

“Clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power.”

The pair discussed energy security and what Mr Abbott called Australia’s “readiness and willingness” to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes.

“If all goes to plan, Australia will export uranium to India – under suitable safeguards of course – because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to the wider world,” Mr Abbott said.

The agreement is now being examined by the parliamentary treaties committee, which will close submissions on November 28.

There are also talks between officials on administrative arrangements.

Both the treaties process and the administrative arrangements must be finalised before Australian uranium producers can start exports to India.

Minerals Council uranium spokesman Daniel Zavattiero told AAP the industry expected to start shipments next year.

“The industry position is things are moving okay,” he said.

“We expect some point next year it will come into force and become operational, then we can start on shipments and sales.”

Initial sales are expected to start on a small scale, but the outlook is strong.

The International Energy Agency estimates that while nuclear provides three per cent of India’s power today, it will grow to 12 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent in 2050.

India plans to invest $96 billion in nuclear plants to 2040, with 21 operating now, six under construction and 57 planned or proposed.

“It’s very positive for us,” Mr Zavattiero said.

The agreement stipulates India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.

It is controversial because India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Australia has the largest share of uranium resources in the world but currently exports only 8400 tonnes a year, valued at over $820 million.

Sydney will host a meeting on Wednesday involving ministers from 12 countries to discuss nuclear non-proliferation.

The Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia is a regional network to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in the Asia-Pacific.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who will host the event, said Australia was committed to the safe and efficient application of nuclear science and technology.

Australia’s only nuclear research reactor is at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s campus in southern Sydney.