US report: India may soon start exporting nuke reactors

Washington, Jul 19: India could soon join a select group of countries like US, China and France which export nuclear reactors, a Congressional report has said.

“Only Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States export nuclear reactors. India may join this group in the near term,” the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report ”Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries Issue for Congress.”

CRS is the independent and bipartisan research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic report on issues of interest to the lawmakers.

According to World Nuclear Association, India is offering its indigenous 220 and 540 megawatt heavy water reactor designs for export, although no specific customers have been identified.

The CRS report said only a limited number of countries conduct commercial enrichment and reprocessing of fissile materials and can supply this technology.

At present, supplier states are not planning any transfers of enrichment or reprocessing technology. The Nuclear Suppliers Group recently added criteria to its guidelines for the supply of fuel cycle technologies.

“Commercial reprocessing is now being done in France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, and India.”

China has a pilot plant and is “considering a large-scale facility… South Korea is pursuing a research and development program on pyro-processing,” the report said.

“Some countries with few natural energy resources, such as Japan, argue that they want to reprocess their spent fuel to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources. Reprocessing proponents in those countries prefer a closed fuel cycle, in which spent nuclear fuel from reactors is used to make fuel for other reactors; opponents raise questions about proliferation risks and high economic costs,” it said.

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