GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has signed agreements with Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) to prepare for the construction of new nuclear power reactors in India.
Under the preliminary agreements, GEH said that it "will begin planning with NPCIL and BHEL for the necessary resources in manufacturing and construction management for a potential multiple-unit Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) nuclear power station."
NPCIL said that its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with GE-H would allow discussions on the "techno-commercial aspects" of the 1350 MWe ABWR to begin. The company said that the MoU was signed by S Bhardwaj, NPCIL's technical director, and Steven Hucik, vice president of GEH's Global Unified ABWR Projects division.
NPCIL has entered into a similar agreement with Westinghouse regarding the construction of AP1000 pressurised water reactors (PWRs) in India. The company said it is also in discussions with Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) about its VVER-1000 reactor, and with France's Areva about its EPR reactor design.
The MoUs with NPCIL and BHEL were signed after GEH executives recently led a US nuclear industry trade mission to India to explore potential opportunities to partner with local companies on future nuclear power plant projects. That trade mission, which took place in January, followed the signing of an agreement in October 2008 by the US and Indian governments to cooperate in civilian nuclear projects. The trade delegation was originally scheduled to visit India in November 2008, but this was postponed after the Mumbai attacks.
Jack Fuller, president and CEO of GEH, said: "We look forward to working closely with NPCIL to expand electricity generation for the people of India. Toward this end, we also look forward to combining the expertise of BHEL with GEH's experienced, global ABWR supply chain capabilities."
Kishore Jayaraman, CEO of GE Energy India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, told the Press Trust of India, "We are delighted at having signed these agreements and see it as a great opportunity to extend our existing footprint in nuclear energy in India."
GE constructed India's first nuclear plant, the two-unit Tarapur plant - which utilises boiling water reactors (BWRs) - during the 1960s.
India currently has 17 operating nuclear power units totalling some 3779 MWe, and plans to increase nuclear capacity to 20,000 MWe 2020.