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Post N-deal, India gets uranium from France

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April 01, 2009 14:35 IST
India has received the first consignment of 60 tonnes of uranium from France for use as fuel to power its nuclear reactors following clearance by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The uranium ore would now be processed at the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad for use in safeguarded pressurised heavy water reactors.

India and France had entered into an accord for supplying reactors and fuel consequent to the Undo-US nuclear deal, the 123 agreement and clearance by the NSG to enable New Delhi to have full-scale civil nuclear cooperation.

As a first step, the department of atomic energy had entered into a contract with French nuclear supplier AR EVA NC for the supply of 300 tonnes of uranium ore concentrate, and 60 tonnes were released under the first consignment which has been received by the NFC, R N Jayaraj, its chief executive, had said yesterday.

Jayaraj said the fuel would be processed in the designated fuel plants at the NFC by converting uranium ore concentrate into nuclear grade uranium dioxide powder and then compacting it into cylindrical pellets.

These pellets will then be encapsulated in thin walled tubes of zirconium alloy which will be sealed by resistance-welding using end plugs, a technology which has been innovated in India, he told reporters.

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