Nuclear Deal Current Affairs - 2019

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Union Cabinet gives nod for India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal that came into force on November 13, 2015.

The deal along with the administrative arrangement for implementing the accord will bolster India’s energy security by supporting the expansion of nuclear power in the country.

Background

  • India and Australia had started talks on the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2012 after Australia had lifted the long-standing ban on selling uranium to energy-starved India.
  • The cooperation agreement was signed between two countries in September 2014 to sell uranium as a nuclear fuel for peaceful power generation.
  • India-Australia Nuclear Cooperation deal follows similar agreements signed by India with the US and France after western sanctions were lifted in 2008.

Currently, India has nuclear energy agreements with 11 countries and imports uranium from France, Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada (since December 2015). Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves and annually exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel. It is third largest uranium producing country after Kazakhstan and Canada.

Nuclear Energy in India

Presently, nuclear energy just contributes 3 per cent of electricity generation in India. The energy starved country has less than two dozen small reactors at six sites with a capacity of 4,780 MW of its total power capacity. India is seeking to diversify its electricity generation and is planning to increase its nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032 by adding nearly 30 new reactors.

Comment

With this, India became India the first country to buy Uranium from Australia without being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). It also marks India’s step toward achieving international acceptability for its nuclear programme despite not ratifying the NPT.

India & Japan sign MoC on High Speed Rail on Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector

India and Japan have signed historic Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) to introduce High Speed Rail (HRS) on Mumbai Ahmedabad sector to revolutionize Indian Railways.

The MoC was signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New Delhi.

This agreement confirms developing of high speed rail corridor using of Japanese high speed rail technologies along with financial and technical assistance from Japan.

 Under the agreement

  • The HRS project will be India’s first high speed rail line. It is a 508 km line connecting the cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • The total project cost is 97,636 crores rupees and will be implemented in 7 years. It will reduce travelling time between the two cities from eight hours to around three.
  • Japan will extend highly concessional loan of 12 billion dollars and technical assistance on easy terms for this project through its Shinkansen Technology.
  • The loan will provided with the interest rate at 0.1 per cent for a period of 50 years with a 15 years moratorium.
  • The cooperation on this project will also be fixed on transfer of technology and Make in India initiative. Japan will also assist India in training of personnel for High Speed Rail.

Civil Nuclear agreement

India and Japan also have reached substantive Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. Under it both sides have confirmed cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The final deal will be signed after certain technical and legal issues are thrashed out.