Home > In the Media > UK trade delegation discusses giant Jaitapur nuclear plant

UK trade delegation discusses giant Jaitapur nuclear plant

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

From Globaltrader

Feb 22, 2011

While British engineering companies continue to be stymied by the sluggishness of the home economy, there’s a glimmer of hope for them in the lucrative Indian nuclear market.

The Indian government plans to build the world’s biggest nuclear power station at a cost of £13.5 billion – equivalent in output to eight Sizewell B reactors – and a UK delegation has arrived in the country to champion the cause of British firms, including Rolls-Royce and Serco.

The mission to Mumbai is being led by Lady Judge, the former chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Keith Parker, chief executive of Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).

But the plan to build the power station, containing six giant reactors in Jaitapur on the west coast, has run into serious opposition from environmentalists who are concerned about the effects on local wildlife and people, and that the Konkan region, where Jaitapur lies, is in an earthquake zone.

Indian anti-nuclear campaigner Praful Bidwai said that British companies should stay away from a place that has some of the richest biodiversity in India, including 6,000 species of flowering plants, and is also the source of two major rivers.

However, NIA spokesman John McNamara said the chance of British companies taking part in the project, with design and construction work and selling components, turbines, valves, computer and safety equipment, was ‘exciting.’

The visit of the delegation follows a pact signed by David Cameron and the Indian government in July to share civil nuclear technology.

The Indian’s government’s intention to build the plant is a result of the ever-increasing demand for energy in the country to keep pace with the phenomenal growth rate, which this year is 8 per cent.

India aims to quadruple nuclear power production by 2020, and the Jaitapur project is just the biggest in a whole raft of proposals.

In the past India has relied on domestic companies to build nuclear plants because the country was outside the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and was excluded from importing foreign technology, making their reactors inefficient.

Since 2009, though, the rules have been relaxed and now the US, France and Britain stand to benefit after signing trade agreements. French company Areva has already signed a £5.5 billion deal to supply reactor technology, and the likes of Rolls-Royce will be hoping that they can do the same.

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