France’s President to visit India in December to discuss energy ties, nuclear power


France’s President Emmanuel Macron will visit India from December 8 to 10 and discuss various issues including renewables and nuclear power, France’s Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said on Wednesday. According to him, a nuclear power plant in France will go on stream next year, which will be a reference site for India to decide on buying French nuclear reactors for the Jaitapur site in Maharashtra.

“There will be discussions on economic, strategic, smart cities, renewable energy and other aspects,” Ziegler told reporters on the sidelines of an event to announce the commencement of direct flights to Paris from Chennai by Jet Airways this month.

According to him, bilateral trade was good and so was French companies’ investments in India and vice versa.

Ziegler said French automotive group PSA will start constructing its own car plant near here next year and start production from 2019. The PSA is partnering with India’s C.K. Birla Group and has announced an investment of around 100 million euros in setting up 100,000 units per annum car plant. The PSA group is the second French automotive group to set up base here after Renault.

As for the status of discussions with the Indian government on the supply of nuclear reactors, Ziegler said it was progressing smoothly. He said the Indian stipulation of reactor supplier having a running reactor as a reference site was perfectly fine with the French government.

India had earlier announced its plans to buy nuclear power reactors from French company Areva for the Jaitapur project. Ziegler said a new nuclear plant similar to what is being planned to be supplied to India is coming up at Flamanville in France and is expected to be operational next year.

Speaking about Indian visitors to France, Ziegler said last year around 600,000 Indians visited France which was higher than the previous year. He said a consular officer has been opened in Chennai and visas will be issued within 48 hours for visits to France.

According to Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh, the Government of France in January 2016 had communicated that French public utility Electricite de France (EDF) was designated to take control of AREVA NP and would be the single entry point for Indian side on all matters related to nuclear power projects to be setup at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has entered into an MoU with EDF for implementation of six Evolutionary Pressurised Reactor (EPR) units at Jaitapur, Maharashtra together with associated fuel, fuel services and other services.