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L&T delivers $40-mn nuclear equipment to US

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(L&T) has started the delivery of $40 million (approximately Rs 200 crore) worth of equipment used in nuclear reactors to the US, according to MV Kotwal, member of the board and president (heavy engineering), L&T.

“The order size now seems small but there will be continuous requirement for the equipment that we have exported to the US,” he told reporters here on Monday.

L&T’s disclosure on the nuclear equipment supplies to the US has also marked the first indigenous development and delivery of heat exchanger tubes for steam generators used in nuclear power reactors by the Hyderabad-based (NFC), a unit of the department of atomic energy.

NFC is the fourth company in the world to produce these alloy tubes (or U tubes), which have very stringent technical requirements covering chemical and mechanical properties, ultrasonic testing, according to NFC officials.

L&T had placed Rs 45 crore worth of orders with NFC to develop and supply these heat exchangers for the nuclear reactors being built for the (NPCIL) instead of importing the same.

The decision for indigenous development of this important component of the steam generator came after the NPCIL was told by the foreign suppliers that the time of delivery and price of the tubes will be decided by them, according to SK Jain, chairman and managing director of NPCIL.

“I recently said that India is going to become a global hub of nuclear reactor technology and the day has already come,” Jain said referring to L&T's equipment supplies to the US.

According to Kotwal, L&T has also received orders for supply of nuclear reactor equipment from Europe as well.

Kotwal said that the Rs 1,700-crore joint venture facility, being set up by L&T and NPCIL with a 74;26 per cent equity holding at Hazira for manufacturing outer shells of steam generators and other equipment apart from heavy forgings, had started operations.

The Phase-I will see the facility handling 300 tonne of forgings, which will be scaled to a 600-tonne capacity in Phase-II, according to him.

Meanwhile, responding to a question, Jain said that NPCIL was working round-the-clock to commission the Kudankulam nuclear plant at the earliest possible.

NPCIL had achieved 40 per cent growth in energy generation this year to 32,000 million units (mu) as compared to 26,000 mu last year, while revenues from the sale of power had gone up to Rs 8,000 crore from Rs 5,000 crore last year, he said.

Availability of uranium, the fuel used for nuclear energy generation, will be up by 25 per cent with the mining operations recently launched at Tummalapalle uranium mines in Andhra Pradesh, according to him.

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