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French firm offers to sell nuclear reactor

November 5, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sujay Mehdudia in The Hindu

November 5, 2008

Areva CEO recently held talks with Atomic Energy Department

Outcome of the Prime Minister’s visit to France

NPCIL officials have already held talks with Areva

NEW DELHI: French nuclear power company Areva has offered to sell its next generation European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) of 1600 MWe to India.

The company is presently installing this technology for setting up a nuclear reactor in Finland and is also looking at the Chinese market.

Union Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh said that Areva CEO Anne Louvergeon recently held talks with the Atomic Energy Department and the Power Ministry. “I along with Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar held talks with Ms. Louvergeon in Mumbai and she offered India the next generation EPRs. There will be further talks on the issue and a decision would be taken accordingly,” he added.

Mr. Ramesh said the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) officials had already held talks with the Areva representatives and even the public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) was in touch with the French company for technology tie-up with a long-term perspective.

The visit by the Areva representative is the result of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to France last month. He had held talks with the French counterpart for nuclear civil cooperation in the light of the passage of the India-U.S. nuclear deal and the go-ahead given to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

The biggest reactor working in India is the 540 MWe model that debuted in Tarapur, Maharashtra, a couple of years ago. All other domestic reactors are of 235 MWe capacity or smaller. Although the talks are at a preliminary stage, the understanding is that Areva, majority of whose shares are owned by the government, and the one that has built all the 56 nuclear power reactors working in France, will supply equipment for the four reactors that the NPCIL will set up at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. The French officials have already inspected the site.

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