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India France close to seal Jaitapur Nuclear power plant deal

Mumbai, Sun, 17 Jun 2012 NI Wire

Despite huge protest to set up a nuclear power plant at the coastal area of Maharashtra after the accident of Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, India and France has come to sign a deal regarding to establishing India's largest Nuclear Power plant that will generate 9,900 Mega Watt (MW) of electricity, sources say.

Indian state run company Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI) along with private company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is going to set up six units of 1,650 MW each nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, for which India has seek the technical help of French Energy major Areva.

‘The negotiations of Negotiations are on. They are progressing well. We hope to seal the deal in the second half of this year,' said an official of this project denying to reveal the total budget.

A broad agreement for the plant was signed in December 2010 with Areva and the Nuclear Power Corp as principal executors.

Officials said similar nuclear power projects in Europe were expected to have entailed a cost of $2 billion for each unit of 1,500 MW. Units with similar technology are currently operational only in France and Finland.

While the recent dip in the value of the Indian rupee has added to the costs in rupee terms, officials were optimistic on still lowering it during negotiations.

Earlier, this project was hit by agitation on land acquisition, which was sort out by Maharashtra government by taking several administrative steps including framing a new rehabilitation package to calm down frayed nerves.

Later, Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan nudged the villagers back in the area protesting to save environment and fishes in the coastal area of Maharashtra.

In this regard, India asked French Nuclear Safety Authority to have a re-look at the EPR design and suggest modifications if needed. Department of Atomic Energy received the review in January 2012, it was scrutinised by DAE and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

The wait now is to formal signing of the agreement and Cabinet approval.

--With Agencies Inputs--

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