New Delhi: France’s Areva SA, the world’s largest supplier of nuclear reactors, is in joint venture talks with Bharat Forge Ltd, the largest global maker of automotive forgings, to manufacture pressurized heavy water reactors as the European company seeks to gain a share of India’s potential atomic energy market.
Bharat Forge already has a joint venture with Areva for nuclear forgings, for which it has shortlisted two locations at Dahej and Mundra in Gujarat. The reactor venture, which will involve an investment of around Rs1,000 crore, is expected to be housed in the same complex that will house the forgings company.
Seeking opportunity: An Areva nuclear recycling plant in France. Bharat Forge has a joint venture with Areva for nuclear forgings. Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg
“The talks are on with Areva. It is yet to be finalized,” said a person aware of the development but who did not want to be identified.
The participation of private firms is expected to give a boost to the sector once the government frees up atomic energy. 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.
The reactor venture will need 50 acres of port-based land, said a senior Bharat Forge executive, who did not want to be identified as talks were still on. “We want to sit across value chains in various fuel types,” the executive said. It is a good opportunity as Areva will also be setting up the Jaitapur nuclear park in Maharashtra for Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL), which will have six reactors of 1,650MW each, he added.
Areva also has a joint venture in India with Alstom SA for the manufacturing of supercritical power generation equipment such as turbines and generators.
Supercritical projects help in higher plant efficiencies and economies of scale. The forging facility will cater to nuclear and thermal power projects and will have a 14,000-tonne-a-year capacity forging press, along with an equipment and steel making facility.
Questions emailed to Areva’s representative in India last Monday remained unanswered at the time of going to press. A Bharat Forge spokesperson declined comment as the company was in the process of selling securities to institutional investors.
Mint had reported on 28 November, 2007, about Areva’s plan to form joint ventures with Indian companies to indigenously manufacture some of the critical parts of nuclear power generation equipment.
Current policy guidelines in India make atomic energy an exclusive reserve of the Union government. Nuclear power plants can be set up only by state-run NPCIL.
Out of India’s installed power generation capacity of at least 150,000MW, nuclear energy accounts for only 4,120MW. NPCIL plans to create an additional generating capacity of 3,160MW by 2012 and achieve 20,000MW of installed nuclear power capacity by 2020.