New Delhi: State-owned French energy firm Areva SA says it’s in talks with Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL) to supply 1,600MW reactors based on European technology, following India’s emergence from decades of nuclear isolation.
Areva is vying with GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc., a joint venture between General Electric Co. and Hitachi Ltd, Westinghouse Electric Corp., and Russia’s Atomstroyexport, among others, to supply reactors to India.
The company is offering NPCIL a warranty of up to 60 years on its equipment and assistance in reprocessing nuclear waste as incentives.
Foreign nuclear power firms are eyeing Indian orders potentially worth $14 billion (Rs68,880 crore) after the Nuclear Suppliers Group in September allowed the country entry into nuclear commerce from which it had been shut out for 34 years. India has signed bilateral nuclear cooperation deals with the US, France and Russia since.
“The situation in India has changed recently and it is a very important market for Areva. So, Areva is beginning a commercial process in the country,” said Jean-Jacques Gautrot, special adviser to Areva chief executive Anne Lauvergeon. “We are talking to possible partners, particularly NPCIL, for possible tie-ups,” Gautrot added. “We would be happy to create a supply chain in India since Areva has expertise in all nuclear cycle. This gives Areva advantage over some other firms in the US or Russia.”
He said Areva was looking at supplying to India 1,600MW reactors using European pressurised reactors technology that is more advanced and safe and consumes less uranium than competing technologies.
India has an installed nuclear power capacity of 4,120MW. The department of atomic energy and NPCIL plan to ach-ieve 20,000MW of installed nuclear power capacity by 2020.
With nuclear power projects requiring an investment of around Rs5-5.5 crore per MW, overseas vendors are scouting for potentially lucrative opportunities in the Indian market.
Sangeeta Singh was in Paris on an invitation from the French government.