Areva, NPCIL to sign deal for new reactors Wednesday

February 3rd, 2009 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) India and France are set to start a new chapter in civilian nuclear cooperation when French nuclear giant Areva signs a pact with India’s nuclear monopoly NPCIL Wednesday for the import of new generation EPR-type nuclear reactors. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Areva will be inked here in the presence of French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan.

Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar will also be present at the function.

European Pressurized Reactor (EPR)-type Light water reactors of 1,650 MW each are under construction in Finland, China and France.

In December 2008, India signed a contract with Areva for importing 300 tonnes of natural uranium for reactors in Rajasthan which are already under international safeguards.

Ahead of the inking of the pact between Areva and NPCIL, France, a staunch advocate of India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), welcomed the signing of a safeguards agreement between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that will place 14 Indian civilian reactors under international inspections.

The safeguards agreement was inked in Vienna by India’s ambassador Saurbah Kumar and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei Tuesday.

“It is a very positive sign of India’s determination to honour the commitments it undertook with respect to the international community and which paved the way for the waiver issued by the NSG last September,” the French ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement in Paris.

“It represents a concrete example of the major progress made by the nonproliferation regime, to which France is particularly attached,” it said.

“The implementation of this agreement will make it possible to develop new cooperative projects with India in the civilian nuclear sector. France welcomes the partnerships that can now be concretised between French and Indian entities,” it said.

France became the first country Sep 29 to sign a bilateral civilian nuclear pact with India after the NSG rewrote its rules of nuclear commerce in favour of New Delhi.

India has also signed bilateral nuclear pacts with the US, Russia and Kazakhstan.

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