The contract was signed by KazAtomProm CEO Askar Zhumagaliyev and DAE head Anil Shrivastava during a meeting between Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in Astana yesterday.
In a statement, KazAtomProm said the contract will be valid until the end of 2019, by which time it will deliver 5000 tonnes of natural uranium to India. It added, in accordance with the terms of the agreement, the value of the uranium will "depend on market mechanisms".
The governments of India and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy in April 2011. The agreement followed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two countries in 2009. That MOU provided for Kazakhstan to supply uranium to India and also expressed Kazakh interest in possible nuclear power projects based on Indian pressurized heavy water reactor designs.
According to KazAtomProm, between 2011 and 2014, it worked with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on a uranium supply contract. That contract was completed in December 2014.
India has 21 operating nuclear units with six more, including a fast breeder, under construction. More than 35 further reactors are planned or firmly proposed. However, the country has only modest indigenous uranium resources.
Kazakhstan, on the other hand, has 15% of the world's uranium resources and became the leading uranium producing country in 2009. The country was home to the BN-350 fast reactor at Aktau, which was built under Russian supervision and operated for 27 years, closing in 1999.