India may have discovered one of the world's largest uranium reserves in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the Hindu newspaper quoted the chairman of the atomic energy commission as saying.
The find, which could offer as much as 150,000 tons of uranium, would nearly double India's present uranium reserves of 175,000 tons, the paper said.
“Studies have already shown that the area had a confirmed reserve of 49,000 tonnes and recent surveys indicated that this figure could go up even three folds," the paper quoted Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Srikumar Banerjee as saying.
Banerjee pointed out that even if that estimate proves correct, India's indigenous reserves would still not be sufficient to meet the entire demand of the country's nuclear program, the paper said. “The new findings would only augment the indigenous supply of uranium. There would still be a significant gap. We would still have to import,” the Hindu quoted Banerjee as saying.
The prognosis came amidst U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to India, in which she reiterated that the U.S. hopes to implement the 2008 Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement as soon as possible, dispelling fears that new regulations from the nuclear suppliers' group would prevent India from obtaining sensitive technologies.
According to AFP, Clinton also lobbied for easier access to India's nuclear energy market for U.S. firms, which have lagged behind French and Russian firms due to a clause in India's new nuclear liability bill that makes the suppliers of reactors liable for 80 years for any accident at a plant.