PM holds talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris
PM holds talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Photo: PIB

President of France Emanuel Macron would be in India next month and the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant project, which has been hanging fire since Areva suffered meltdown, would also be on the agenda. Also, the France’s energy giant EDF that has taken over Areva; is hoping to arrive on a “roadmap” with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) soon.

The Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant when materialised will be the largest in the world with a total capacity of 9600 MW and will be bringing business to the Indian nuclear industry as EDF intends to localise its supply chain.

“President Macron will be here in another 20 days or so. Jaitapur is a big opportunity for us and it would definitely be on the agenda as President Macron meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Jaitapur Deputy Director & Head of EDF Mumbai Liaison Office Dr Fawzi Issa told Nuclear Asia on the side-lines of Nuclear Energy World Expo 2018 in Mumbai. Dr. Issa has been relocated to Mumbai to ensure local coordination with various stakeholders.

Dr Issa elaborated more about the requirement of the supply chain for the Jaitapur plant. “For instance we need 150 heat exchangers, 500 pumps and 12,000 valves. We need to have robust localisation. From our experience in China we can say it is important,” Dr Issa added. He said that the EDF will be following a four step procurement procedure that includes “sourcing, pre-selection, pre-qualified and procurement”. The procedure can take up to two years.

“EPR is based on French technology so it is important that local supply chain has to be compatible to us,” the Jaitapur director added. EDF intends to have 30-40 per cent indigenous component at the initial stage and it is likely to be around 50-60 per cent as the project ends.

Dr. Issa categorically ruled out third party involvement in the procurement. He said that the nuclear reactor has three important parts – design, operation and equipment manufacturing. “You operate better if you are involved in the design stage itself…. We are not going to just buy things of the shelf. During manufacturing also we would need our experts to go to the site,” Dr Issa said while elaborating the quality control measures.

The nuclear reactors based on the EPR technology are proceeding for fuel loading in China, two units in the UK are up and running. But the beginning of Jaitapur nuclear project construction will depend how and when the irritants between EDF and NPCIL will be resolved. In the beginning of 2016, EDF has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NPCIL, in line with the road map agreed at Government level. The first Techno-Commercial Proposal was presented by EDF in mid-2016.

Negotiations are on between NPCIL and EDF to define a General Framework Agreement (GFA) for the project and we are expecting the signing of this agreement early 2018. The GFA will define a roadmap of collaboration between NPCIL and EDF.