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India is to invest around $175 million in domestic uranium prospecting
India is to invest around $175 million in domestic uranium prospecting in an attempt to overcome the shortage of fuel at the country's nuclear power stations, an Indian nuclear official said on Monday.

Electric power generation at India's nuclear power plants is declining due to the shortage of fuel. However, as India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is banned from purchasing uranium abroad while the country's uranium reserves are insufficient to meet domestic demand.

"We are investing large amounts of funds in the exploration of uranium deposits," Indian Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said.

India, which is currently struggling to meet the electricity needs of its rapidly-expanding economy, also hopes to push through a nuclear energy deal with the United States, which is set to give India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment for the first time since the 1970s.

However, the deal is currently being blocked by a number of Indian left wing parties, who believe it would make the country dependent on the U.S.

The nuclear deal with Washington has been stalled for more than two years mainly over India's insistence on its right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and to conduct nuclear weapons tests in the future. India, which has conducted nuclear bomb tests in the past, is currently under a self-imposed moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.

Under the new deal, Washington could cut off nuclear fuel supplies in the event of a weapons test. The agreement allows India to reprocess U.S. nuclear material in UN-monitored facilities to ensure it is used for civilian purposes.


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