After reviewing the progress of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement 2018 signed between Indian and French firms for setting up the Jaitapur Plant, India says it will proceed further after seeing the reference plant for EPR nuclear reactor.
Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has apprised the Indian legislator in the ongoing Parliament session: “We will proceed after seeing the model plant. We have decided about the dates.”
After being in limbo owing to the financial meltdown of the French utility Areva, the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant Project has gathered some steam last year after the visit of France’s President Emmanuel Macron to India. Both the countries’ firms – Indian Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and French Electricite de France (EDF) signed the Industrial Way Forward Agreement in March 2018.
Thereafter, during the visit of the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visit to India at the end of 2018. Swaraj and Drian noted the “satisfactory” adopted the Status of Progress for implementation of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement. However, Swaraj’s statement in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament could mean more delay in the project as EDF has announced the postponement of fuel loading at the Flamanville EPR to the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, instead of the previously scheduled fourth quarter.
A reference plant is a functional power reactor. Since EDF would be bringing in new technology, it is the requirement of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to see a reference plant.
But, on the upside the negotiations between EDF and NPCIL seem to be moving forward as the French company submitted its techno-commercial proposal for the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, which when completed will be the largest nuclear power plant in India with six reactors with a capacity of 1650 MW each. The Indian government will now study the offer to assess the cost of the project, loan to be given by France and the tariff of electricity.
The Indo-French deal was signed in September 2008 and after Areva’s financial woes, it ran into land acquisition hurdles. However, the Maharashtra’s Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule has informed in November 2018 that the land acquisition process was complete.