Saturday, May 20, 2006

Austalia-India Uranium Trade Tied To Reactor Construction Contracts

I've highlighted the last sentence of this extract because it seems of particular signifigance to activity in Australia.

[from the Financial Express, poste 20/5/05]

MAY 19: Seeking to meet its rising energy demands, India may pay suppliers, including General Electric (GE) Co, Rs 1.8 trillion ($40 billion) to build nuclear reactors over the next 14 years, a government official said.

France’s Areva SA, Electricite de France and US-based Westinghouse Electric Co are among the possible providers of 25 to 28 reactors by 2020, chairman Nuclear Power Corporation of India, SK Jain said.

US President George Bush is seeking an end to the three-decade-old international ban on nuclear technology sales to India, prompted by its atomic bomb test in 1974.

India and China are leading a worldwide revival in atomic energy after oil and coal prices rose to record levels. Russia and Japan are among the nations that may lift sanctions on India and enter the contest for contracts to install 40,000 megawatts (mw) of capacity. This would be enough to supply electricity to four cities the size of New York.

‘‘We are very confident the deal and all agreements will go through,’’ Mr Jain said in an interview in Mumbai on Tuesday. ‘‘As an outcome of that, India will have access to the global nuclear technology market.’’

President Bush has asked the US Congress to end nuclear sanctions against India. US and other members of the so-called nuclear suppliers group, including France, Russia, Japan and Australia, are debating whether to lift their ban on exports of equipment and materials for atomic use to India.

India is turning to overseas nuclear-reactor builders after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doubled the nation’s 2020 capacity target from an initial 20,000 mw. India’s homegrown atomic power programme won’t cope with the stepped-up construction plan, Mr Jain said.He addedthe programme was also limited because of a uranium shortage caused by the international embargo on sales of the reactor fuel. Once sanctions end, supplies of enriched uranium will be included in contracts to install reactors.

While at this stage having no evidence to authenticate the last claim, let's assume for now, even though this might not be the case, that international reactor constructors are including whole-of-life (that's 20,000-plus in uranium years) supervision and/or ownership of fission-fuel used on Indian soil.

If such were the case, placing of the waste in a repository would be on the agenda, which would be more difficult for a company that didn't already have a pre-arranged site when it made a tender to the Indian Government.

No matter which company wins I bet Halliburton will make a fortune in environmental impact assessments.

Who were the "officials' that Downer was relying on for his information last week? They need to be identified sooner rather than later


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