Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said an amount of Rs 700-800 crore would be invested in exploration of uranium deposits in the country during the 11th Five Year Plan period.
Stating that early availability of uranium was important for reducing dependence on import of energy resources in the future, Kakodkar said, apart from importing, the commission was looking towards enhancement of uranium production in the country.
Delivering the Yarlagadda Sreeramulu endowment lecture on 'Atomic Energy in India: Emerging Scenario' here on Wednesday, he said the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh, Mahadek basin in Meghalaya, North Delhi fold belt, Rajasthan and Haryana were the thrust areas identified for augmentation of uranium resources in the country.
According to Kakodkar, besides broad-based strategies for wider access, there is a need for adoption of new technology, deployment of large investment and organisational restructuring for increasing uranium resources.
"We also need to build a reservoir of new human resource, which can do engineering based on new science. We have to convert scientists into engineers and engineers into scientists to meet future challenges," he said emphasising that there should be stronger bridges between basic research and technology development.
Explaining the details of the country's nuclear programme, he said 15 pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) were currently under operation, while three were under construction and eight more units of 700 Mw were in the pipeline. The 500 Mw prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR), currently under construction, would go on stream in three years.
This apart, Kakodkar said, a 300 Mw advanced heavy water reactor (AHWR), designed by the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, was under development. It would meet the objectives of utilisation of thorium for commercial power generation.
He said there was a growing global interest in thorium for various reasons such as energy advantage, relatively stable core reactivity, proliferation resistance and rapid deposition of plutonium.