Money no object for Indian reactor plans

25 March 2009

Plans to deploy new reactors in India look strong after key officials indicated the funds required were forthcoming.


Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Areva have a memorandum of understanding to work towards an EPR-based nuclear power plant at Jaitapur, with two 1600 MWe reactors as a starting point but potential to expand to eight. The maximum total capacity of 9600 MWe would place Jaitapur ahead of any other nuclear facility in terms of power production.


NPCIL chair S K Jain said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg that the company had invited foreign banks to express their interest in the project. Fifteen international finance institutions including ten from France responded, said Jain, adding, "Our expression was for €3 billion but we have got commitments for €8 billion."


Kumar elaborated that debt was to fund 70% of the project with the remainder coming from NPCIL's cash reserved of 110 billion rupees ($2.1 billion).


The project with Areva is just one of a massive program of nuclear build planned in India. Nuclear trade restrictions on India were lifted last year and delegation after delegation of foreign firms has visited since then. The business is mutually beneficial: Global reactor firms want to sell their wares, while Indian manufacturers want to win contracts to supply reactor components internationally. India itself, through NPCIL, wants to secure its electricity supplies with new reactors and long-term contracts for uranium fuel.
Most recently, GE Hitachi signed agreements with NPCIL as well as Bharat Heavy Electricals for the manufacture and construction of its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor.


Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd has also agreed to team up with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for analyses of its ACR-1000 power reactor in the Indian context. L&T has also signed a memorandum towards a major role in the manufacture of components and modules for Westinghouse's AP1000.


Already present in the Indian market under special agreements, the Russian nuclear industry will be providing two more of its VVER-1000 units at Kudankulam.