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SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

Russia and India are likely to agree on a long-term uranium supply pact for a nuclear power plant coming online in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, said senior officials with knowledge of the matter. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Russia on Monday and Tuesday for the first time in five years. He’s expected to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin to help re-energize relations between the two countries and likely deliver strategic deals.

During the visit, India and Russia are also expected to sign an agreement allowing the military to use each other’s facilities for training, port calls and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, said the officials who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. India’s Ministry of External Affairs didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking details on the long-term uranium supply agreement.

Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom and Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The growing support for nuclear as a low-carbon energy source has seen uranium prices more than triple since the end of 2020, and the market could remain tight until 2029 as utilities replenish their inventories, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Cooperation in civilian nuclear sphere doesn’t fall under the US sanction regime on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. “Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant units 1 and 2 have already become operational, and the work is progressing on units 3 and 6,” India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Friday. Moscow “remains an important partner for India’s energy security and defense,” he added.

Rosatom had previously supplied nuclear fuel to Kudankulam in 2022 and 2023. The bulk of India’s uranium output comes from Uranium Corp. of India’s mines in the northern state of Jharkhand, where reserves are fast depleting. Efforts to exploit deposits in other states such as Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya haven’t met expectations, increasing India’s reliance on imports.

India has spot deals for the procurement of the fuel with nations including Kazakhstan, Russia, France, Uzbekistan and Canada. The military agreement will facilitate the exchange of fuel and spare parts for Russian warships in the Indian Ocean and Indian vessels in the Arctic — an area that has seen increased activity with new shipping routes opening up as ice caps recede.