Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant construction to begin after Flamanville starts operation

The Government of India has made it clear that the work on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant in Maharashtra will begin once the Flamanville-3 in France is fully operationalized. The government said it was done in order to get a proven technology.

The Indian Government’s revelation has come nearly a month after Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Electricite de France (EDF) of France have signed an Industrial Way Forward Agreement for implementation of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur, Maharashtra with a total capacity of about 10,000 MW.

The Evolutionary Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) are evolutionary reactors, whose design has evolved from “KONVOI’ and “N4’ reactors, which have been in operation in Germany and France respectively for about two decades. “Further, the work at Jaitapur will be commenced only on demonstration of full power operation of Flamanville-3 under construction in France, as reference plant, to have an operationally proven technology,” the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

Last month, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, a joint statement contended that the goal is to begin work at the Jaitapur site around the end of 2018. The two sides had also signed Industrial Way Forward Agreement, even as little clarity is there about what the agreement entails.

There are currently four EPRs under construction viz. Olkiluoto-3 in Finland, Flamanville-3 in France and Taishan 1&2 in China. The Indian government acknowledged the reports that these reactors are delayed. “There is delay in execution of the project and this is not attributable to the technology itself,” the minister added.

Once installed, the Jaitapur project will be the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with a total capacity of 9.6 GW. It has been envisaged to contribute, in addition to renewable energy, to achieving India’s goal of 40 per cent non-fossil energy by 2030. The main bone of contention between NPCIL and EDF has been the pricing of the power units.