NPCIL tying up with state-run firms for n-power

July 22nd, 2011 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Rawatbhata (Rajasthan), July 22 (IANS) The Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) plans to tie up with state-run firms like ONGC, Indian Oil and NTPC to finance upcoming nuclear power projects, says a senior official.

“Several PSUs have shown interest in tying up with us,” Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman and managing director of NPCIL, told IANS.

He said NPCIL had signed joint venture agreements with Indian Oil, National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) and the National Aluminium Co (Nalco) for development of different projects in the country.

Indian Oil has agreed to buy 26 percent equity stake for Rs.900 crore in NPCIL’s upcoming nuclear power plant at Rawatbhata, Rajasthan. NTPC has agreed to pick up 49 percent stakes in NPCIL’s upcoming projects in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

Jain said Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has also shown interest in picking up minority stake in some projects.

“Talks with ONGC are in progress. I am hopeful of signing an agreement soon,” the NPCIL chairman said.

NPCIL is also working jointly with Nalco to develop a nuclear power plant in Orissa’s Ganjam district.

Jain said NPCIL targets to set up 14 nuclear reactors of 700 MW power production capacity each by 2020. To minimise cost, two reactors are generally set up in close vicinity.

NPCIL started construction work on two 700 MW indigenous nuclear power reactors at Rawatbhata July 18. The project, scheduled to be operational by 2016, is estimated to cost Rs.12,000 crore.

“The project will be financed through 70 percent debt and 30 percent equity,” said Jain.

He said each twin reactor was estimated to cost between Rs.11,000 crore and Rs.14,000 crore. He said that in most projects, 70 percent of the financing would come through debt.

NPCIL and its sister concern Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd or Bhavini are the only entities allowed to operate nuclear power stations in India.

Although other public sector undertakings can participate in nuclear power projects as equity investors, they are not involved in operation.

Private investment is not permitted in nuclear projects in India.

Talking to IANS, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Srikumar Banerjee, said the government was in the process of amending regulations that would pave the way for private investment in nuclear power projects.

Banerjee said private companies should be allowed to participate as minority investors.

The government plans to set up a statutory body to regulate nuclear projects. Currently the nuclear sector in India is regulated by the authority set up by an executive order.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at gyanendra.k@ians.in)

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