Nuclear Power Corp, French firm sign pact on reactors

February 4th, 2009 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Following the government’s green signal to foreign companies to participate in India’s nuclear power programme, AREVA of France Wednesday signed a pact with state-run Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) to set up nuclear power reactors in Maharashtra.As per the agreement, the two companies will start technical and commercial discussions for setting up two to six European pressurised reactor (EPR) units of 1,650 MW each at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

The agreement will also include fuel supply for the lifetime of the reactors, which could last up to 60 years.

The agreement was signed by NPCIL chairman and managing director S.K. Jain and AREVA chairman and chief executive Anne Lauvergeon.

French Commerce Minister Anne-Marie Idrac, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan and Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh were also present at the signing.

The French minister hoped a commercial agreement would be signed by the end of this year.

Echoing the same view, Lauvergeon said: “We are interested in deepening this partnership. AREVA is committed to developing India’s nuclear capacity and equipment.”

She said the company would be looking at collaborations in India for mining nuclear fuel.

“We would be seriously looking at common investments in mines for supply of fuel for the reactors,” Lauvergeon said.

The Indian ministers said the government would focus more on the nuclear sector to boost power generation.

“The government would be soon announcing more nuclear parks in other parts of the country. Some locations have already been identified. The cabinet is looking into it,” Chavan said.

He said like Jaitapur, the other parks will also have a capacity of six to eight reactors. Other countries can participate in setting up reactors here.

Commenting on India becoming a major player in the global nuclear power market, Ramesh said: “India is at the cutting edge of fast breeder technology. There is no reason for India not to become a major exporter in this field after a few years.”

India wants to increase electricity generation from nuclear sources to 20,000 MW by 2020 from the current 4,120 MW.

India and France in September 2008 had signed a bilateral agreement for cooperation in development of civil nuclear energy.

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