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French utility EDF signs preliminary deal to build 6 nuclear plants in Jaitapur; India to become one of the world's biggest nuclear sites

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:30 IST
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  • French President Francois Hollande, making a state visit to India, said on Monday that an agreement to build the six nuclear reactors should be concluded within a year
  • The Jaitapur project is at the preliminary technical studies stage after getting initial environmental clearance in 2010, EDF has stated.

After French President Francois Hollande's India visit and negotiations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over terms and conditions of Rafale deal and other bilateral agreements, French utility EDF has announced signing agreements to build six nuclear reactors in India.

The company on Tuesday announced that it had signed a preliminary agreement with Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) to build six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.

EDF is taking over the project from fellow French state-controlled group Areva, which could become the world's biggest nuclear contract.

According to Reuters reports, Areva will sell its reactor arm to EDF later this year.

Jaitapur project

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The Jaitapur project is at the preliminary technical studies stage after getting initial environmental clearance in 2010, EDF has stated.

The report also adds that a contract for pre-engineering studies was signed by Areva and NPCIL last April.

Read: Narendra Modi, Francois Hollande release joint-statement on bilateral ties between India and France. Here's the full text

Work in progress

EDF said that in the next few months it would continue work started by Areva and NPCIL to secure certification for the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) reactor in India and to finalise the economic and financial conditions.

The six 1650 megawatt EPR reactors with a combined capacity of nearly 10,000 MW will make Jaitapur one of the world's biggest nuclear sites.

Hurdles along the way?

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Indian legislation on manufacturer's liability has prevented French, US and Russian nuclear projects in the country.

General Electric Chairman Jeff Immelt had stated in September that GE will not invest in atomic energy in India until accident liability laws are brought in line with global practice.

With the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in mind, India's parliament passed a law six years ago that makes equipment suppliers responsible for an accident.

The Reuters report further adds that strong local opposition to the project, haggling over price, massive delays and cost overruns at EPRs under construction in France and Finland and the takeover of Areva's reactor arm by EDF are also delaying the huge project.

Hollande and Narendra Modi said in a joint statement they had agreed to hasten the nuclear talks and aim for construction to begin in early 2017.

First published: 27 January 2016, 1:21 IST
 
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