Talks on Jaitapur nuclear plant to resume soon

French government to abide by India's civil nuclear liability law

The state-run Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) and French nuclear reactor supplier Areva will soon resume talks for the Jaitapur nuclear project in Maharashtra, the French Ambassador to India said here on Wednesday.

Ambassador Francois Richer, who led the French business delegation during its one-day visit here told Business Standard that the talks between both sides, which were frozen during the Lok Sabha elections, would begin in the near future as the Modi government had committed to the development of the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project under the inter-governmental agreement between India and France.

Areva, which had entered into an early works contract with NPC in December 2010, is yet to enter into a commercial contract. Areva will initially supply two evolutionary pressurised reactors (EPRs) each of 1,650 MW for the Jaitapur project and later four EPRs of the same generation capacity each.

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Richer informed that after the Fukushima accident took place in March 2011, thorough investigations concerning the safety of French reactors and also of EPRs were conducted. Thereafter, the issues relating to the security of EPRs were settled. But the negotiations came to a halt during the polls.

However, said Richer, the French government wanted clarity from the Modi government on issues involving the price of power, provisions of India's civil nuclear liability law and the procurement of certain key equipment by Areva from Japan required for the Jaitapur project.

“The Jaitapur project came up for discussion during French foreign minister Laurent Fabius's meetings last week with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Environment and Forests minister Prakash Javadekar. The French government has no objection to India’s civil nuclear liability law but it wants a clear picture on its provisions. France and Areva will abide by the law,” said Richer.

As far as the procurement of some equipment by Areva from Japan, Richer said it was brought to the notice of the government that there was a need for a civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan.

On the per unit tariff of Rs 6.50 projected by the Department of Atomic Energy for the Jaitapur project, Richer said it was a matter negotiated by Areva with the NPC.

Richer said he did not want to comment on the Shiv Sena’s opposition to the Jaitapur project.

The next stop for the French delegation will be Jaipur.

First Published: Jul 12 2014 | 10:34 PM IST

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