TAPS won?t go dry, Russia to help | india | Hindustan Times
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TAPS won?t go dry, Russia to help

Ahead of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's visit, Russia has agreed to supply fuel for the Tarapur 1 and 2 nuclear power reactors, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Navtej Sarna has confirmed.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 19:06 IST

Ahead ofRussian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's visit, Russia has agreed to supply fuel for the Tarapur 1 and 2 nuclear power reactors, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Navtej Sarna has confirmed. Fradkov arrives on Thursday for a two-day visit.

Russia has informed the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which it is a key member, that it will supply uranium for the fuel-starved TAPS 1&2, invoking the safety exception clause provisions. It had last supplied fuel for Tarapur in 2001.

The fuel will permit TAPS 1&2, already under international safeguards, to continue producing nuclear power for the powergrid, Sarna said.

Fuel levels at Tarapur are at "dangerously low" levels and India has been scouting around for fuel for the nuclear power plant after the July 18 agreement with the US.

The US, which was to supply the fuel, said it could not do so until India completed its separation plan and the US Congress amended its legislation.

The Russian authorities have informed US officials that Moscow's planned export of 60 metric tonne of fuel for Tarapur will be "safety related".

India has just concluded an agreement with the US on civilian nuclear power cooperation. In Russia's view, this will make the sale permissible under the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an assembly of 44 nations that export nuclear material.

Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines permit exports to countries without UN-approved safeguards on all reactors -- such as India -- only if the exports are needed to prevent or correct "a radiological hazard to public health and safety which cannot reasonably be met by other means".

Fradkov will be accompanied by, among others, Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's atomic energy agency.