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MNCs rush for N-deals with NPCIL

August 11, 2006 Leave a comment

From The Economic Times

August 11, 2006

KOLKATA: The Americans, the French, and the Russians have initiated talks with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) over the possibility of grabbing nuclear power projects in India since the Indo-US nuclear deal was signed.

“Considerable interest has been shown by companies from developed countries to contribute to the Indian nuclear power programme, including French nuclear power major Areva NP, Atlanta-based General Electric (GE) and Russian nuclear plant manufacturer Atomstroyexport.

All have signed contracts with NPCIL over the possibility of erecting nuclear plants in India and talks are at the pre-project stage,” a director at NPCIL told ET.

“The Indian government has recently cleared four new sites for setting up nuclear power stations. Sites cleared are at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, Kakrapar in Gujarat, Rawatbhata in Rajasthan, and Jaitapur in Maharashtra. The foreign nuclear power companies are eyeing projects there. Additionally, they are also looking at capacity addition plans that have been lined up,” he said.

“All these companies have entered into preliminary talks with us. To this effect, they have also made presentations on the broad contours of the projects they may be interested in,” he added.

An NPCIL official said that Areva may be eyeing a project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. One of these companies may also be awarded a project in West Bengal where NPCIL is currently looking at a suitable location for setting up a nuclear power plant.

Areva is a 10bn euro in size and has some times back set up a nuclear power plant in China. Asia-Pacific accounted for 12% of Areva’s sales in ‘05. It is into design and construction of nuclear power plants and research reactors, instrumentation and control, modernisation and maintenance services, components manufacture and the supply of nuclear fuel.

Atomstroyexport, has erected a number of plants in as many as 15 countries, including India. The latest projects include construction of two power units (2000 MW total) in China and one power unit of 1000 MW in Iran. It may be interested in the next stages of expansion at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu where they are already building two 1,000 MW reactors.

The nuclear power division of the $149bn GE group had approached NPCIL. The division is into nuclear fuel manufacturing, reactor servicing, performance service and new nuclear projects.

“NPCIL will obviously look for the best technology partner among the interested parties. The idea is to localise the new technology that would be adopted in the long run. One or two plants may be erected with imported technology which would later be indigenised as and when we are able to absorb the technologies,” he said.

“The Indian nuclear power sector has exhibited competencies and we have the technical capabilities to adopt and successfully implement these technologies. There are examples in Rajasthan where we have adopted foreign technologies,” the official said.