01/26/2009, 00.00
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Kazakhstan to sell nuclear fuel to India

Deal was reached two days ago. New Delhi is set to team up with Astana to explore for uranium and build a new atomic power plant. Kazakhstan is seeking more partners to develop its vast underground riches.
New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – During Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s four-day visit to New Delhi, India and Kazakhstan signed a deal on Saturday whereby Astana will supply nuclear fuel to Indian civilian atomic plants. The deal makes Kazakhstan the fourth country after the United States, France, and Russia to supply India with uranium.

The agreement also includes the possibility for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and KazAtomProm to team up for joint exploration in the Central Asian country, which sits on the second largest uranium reserves in the world. It also calls for the construction of an Indian atomic power plant and the upgrading of an existing one.

Power-hungry India is among the countries that need more atomic power plants and a steady supply of nuclear fuel.

New Delhi is very interested in closer relations with Astana, which controls vast gas and coal reserves.

“We need massive investments in our power sector,” said Aliya Tlenbayeva, managing director of Samruk Energy, the Kazakh state-run holding firm for power, because “we have major expansion plans.”

Kazakhstan already exports electricity to Russia and is looking at further developing its relationship with China, but its plants and distribution networks are obsolete and wants to improve them.

Experts believe Kazakhstan could soon become the world’s largest uranium exporter. Last year it mined 8,500 tonnes but has plans to increase output to 11,900 tonnes this year.

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