In a major bid to make India a global player in nuclear power sector, the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi led government is contemplating to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the nuclear power area.
The decision, likely to be considered by the PM’s Office (PMO), would be a paradigm shift in India’s nuclear power policy, and subsequently open the gates for multinational companies to invest in the country’s nuclear energy projects.
After deliberations with the PMO, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has sought legal opinion from the Union Law Ministry on whether foreign investment can be allowed in the nuclear power sector, if the FDI policy is amended.
“The department (DAE) proposes to submit a report for consideration to the PMO after seeking guidance from the Atomic Energy Commission for amending the policy,” says the letter by Joint Secretary, DAE (Anushakti Bhawan), dated 8 January 8. “DAE’s stand is that the Atomic Energy Act in no way prohibits private sector participation in nuclear power projects,” the letter adds.
Sources said that several foreign companies, including Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) and GE-Hitachi of the US, Electricite de France (EDF) of France and Rosatom of Russia have expressed keen interest in participating in India’s nuclear power projects and invest in various areas such as technology, supplies or as contractors and service providers.
However, these foreign companies can’t yet invest in the country’s increasing number of nuclear power projects, as the FDI policy does not permit them to do so.