Mumbai: Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd is in talks with Southeast Asian countries to sell 220 megawatt atomic reactors once international restrictions on the South Asian nation’s nuclear power program,e are lifted.
“We are trying to showcase our ability to supply this technology to a number of countries that want to benefit from nuclear power,” S.K. Jain, chairman of Nuclear Power Corp., said in a phone interview yesterday from Goa in western India. “It’s a matter of how long it will take before the US deal is finalized.”
India is waiting to reach a final agreement on its nuclear accord with the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear regulator, before it can buy light- water nuclear power reactors of more than 1,000 megawatts from overseas companies.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 45-nation forum dedicated to limiting the spread of atomic weapons, must also approve this agreement. The company also needs international approval before it can sell homegrown pressurized heavy water reactors, he said.
Nuclear Power Corp. has approached Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam as potential buyers for its 220- megawatt pressurized heavy water reactors, Jain said.
“We are very serious about grabbing the export market,” Jain said. The company today announced that its third atomic power unit of 220 megawatts at Kaiga in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has gone “critical,” or is ready to produce power for consumers.
Electricity shortages erode almost a 10th of India’s gross domestic product, according to the finance ministry. The country turned to overseas nuclear-reactor builders after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doubled the nation’s 2020 capacity target from an initial 20,000 megawatts.
Sanctions were imposed on India after it tested a nuclear weapon in 1974. The test conducted in a desert in western India prompted the formation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the US is also a member. Another round of tests by India in 1998 led to the US choking trade with India by disallowing the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corp. to guarantee loans for projects in India.
The US removed economic sanctions in 2001 after the 11 September attacks to bolster support for its campaign against terrorism.