New Delhi: State owned Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd, or NPCIL may award General Electric Co. (GE) the order for building a nuclear power park which is expected to be situated in either Gujarat or Andhra Pradesh.
GE has a joint venture with Hitachi Ltd called GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc. and is among the foreign nuclear power firms that are eyeing Indian orders potentially worth $14 billion after the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) 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 firm has already signed a nuclear power plant development agreement with India’s engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd. While GE will provide the equipment for the nuclear power generation plants, L&T will provide the construction help.
“We have been told that we will be getting a site that will be either in Gujarat or Andhra Pradesh. The project will have six reactors, with a total capacity of around 10,000 MW,” Tejpreet Singh Chopra, national executive for India, GE said at the sidelines of Inddia Economic Summit on Tuesday.
NPCIL, which currently operates 17 nuclear power reactors with a 4120 MW capacity, hopes to step up atomic power generation to 20,000 MW by 2020. Depending upon the technology, the cost of one reactor has been estimated at between $5.2 and $7.8 billion, although final costs are subject to negotiation.
Interestingly, even as US was instrumental in ending India’s isolation from nuclear commerce that ensued from its first atomic test, India signed the first commercial pact to build atomic power plants with France’s Areva. Areva will also be setting up the Jaitapur nuclear park in Maharashtra for NPCIL, which will have six reactors of 1,650MW each.
“It is for the Indian government to decide a site. Technology wise we are agnostic,” Chopra added.
Currently, only NPCIL, a public sector undertaking of the department of atomic energy, is mandated to set up nuclear plants in India. However, with India and the US having signed a historic nuclear deal, the atomic power sector is expected to be opened up to private and public sector firms.
Private sector power firms such as Tata Power Co. Ltd, GMR Energy Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, JSW group, Vedanta Resources Plc and Reliance Power Ltd have shown interest in setting up nuclear power plants once this takes place.
According to KPMG’s India Energy Outlook report, the department of atomic energy hopes to build 250,000MW nuclear capacity by 2050 to meet power requirements.