Wednesday, Sep 03, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The decision is a dream come true for atomic energy establishment in the country as it sets the stage for the unfolding of the commercial possibilities for exploitation of Thorium. Right from the beginning of the atomic energy programme in the country, scientists have been itching to develop the technology for using Thorium on two grounds. Firstly, it has larger energy potential than Uranium, the traditional raw material for nuclear reactors and secondly India had greater reserves of Thorium than Uranium. Indian Thorium reserves are estimated at five to six times that of Uranium.
Announcing the Cabinet's decision, a spokesperson of the Government said, the prototype fast breeder reactor is expected to be ready for commercial operation in eight years.
It would generate 2,585 million units of energy a year at a capacity factor of 62.8 per cent and help meet the increasing energy demand of Tamil Nadu and other southern States.
The Cabinet also approved a proposal to set up a new Uranium ore processing mill as part of the Uranium Ore Mining and Milling Project at Banduhurang in Jharkand. Estimated to cost Rs. 343 crores, the project would have a capacity to process 2,250 tonnes of dry ore a day.
The Cabinet further cleared a new initiative for development of backward districts, with an outlay of Rs. 5,940 crores to be spent over three years.
The programme would cover 132 districts, with each district receiving Rs.15 crores a year. An important focus of the programme will be development of districts affected by left wing extremism.
In addition, the meeting decided to promulgate an order setting out service conditions for employees of shops and other commercial establishments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Union Territory, which is fast becoming a major tourist spot, now has no law regulating the conditions of service for persons employed in shops and other commercial establishments.
It also decided to increase the rates of scholarship and the annual grant given under the scheme of pre-matric scholarship for the children of those engaged in unclean occupation.
Further, the Cabinet gave its nod for setting up a joint working group with Turkey for combating terrorism.
India and Turkey had entered into a formal agreement to cooperate in the fight against terrorism during the visit of Home Minister, L.K. Advani, to Turkey in June, 2001.
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