India will decide on the number of new reactors to be placed under IAEA safeguards only after assessing if these will be fuelled by uranium procured from abroad, a senior official said.
There are at present 22 operational reactors, of which 14 are under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards as these use imported fuel.
In 2017, the government sanctioned 10 new pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) and a decision on these being put under IAEA safeguards has to be taken, the official said.
The 10 reactors are being installed in Kaiga in Karnataka, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Gorakhpur in Haryana, and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan.
"We have recently signed an agreement to procure uranium from Uzbekistan. We will take a call only after assessing the position of the imported fuel and domestic uranium," the official said.
India currently imports uranium from Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada. Plans are also afoot to procure the fuel from Uzbekistan and Australia.
By placing the reactors under the IAEA safeguards, India gives the international nuclear energy watchdog access to them. This step was taken by the country in 2014 to demonstrate that its nuclear energy programme was for peaceful purposes.
This is a necessary step under the Indo-US nuclear deal.
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