During the last edition of India Nuclear Business Platform, Mr. Ganesh Iyer, General Manager, Nuclear Equipment & Systems, L&T Heavy Engineering provided an assessment of the current nuclear supply chain sector in India.
1. Promising prospect of the nuclear industry for next 15 years
2. The supply chain is improving rapidly and working hard to catch up the West and Japan
3. Create center of excellency to accompany the fleet mode
4. Firm plan LWR and Localization
5. Skill development is key for the industry as whole
70% of reactors under construction in the world are in Asia, 25% of which in China and 8.5% in India. This statistic is showing that the tendency of nuclear energy is shifting from the West (Europe, N. America), due to the negative image nuclear have in those countries, to Asia where the potential is very high.
The growth opportunities are very promising for nuclear in India. The current trend is about 14 reactors in 14 years, commissioning of one reactor every year; even though it’s a high volume but it’s doable and realistic targets as the supply chain is ready.
Growth Opportunities– Coming decade
The industry is improving rapidly; for instance, couple years ago U-tubes, Mist extractor, Grid flats, and Fasteners were imported from Europe, USA and Japan; presently they are all made locally in India.
As we can applaud those as remarkable advancement though more have to be done, and the industry is working on some of the following: Lattice Tubes for End Shield, Higher thick Stainless plates, Alloy Steel Plates, Heaters for Pressurisers, Inconel SASC Consumables, or Alloy steel Consumables.
State of Indian Nuclear Industry & Challenges Facing Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR)
After the Fukushima incident in 2011 many problems erupted within the industry such as the supply chain which got diverted to other businesses (where they were assured of the business and the working capital) as result of the uncertainty. Nevertheless, they are willing to relocate to nuclear if they find clarity, support for faster execution, faster payment and timely extra claim settlements.
Likewise, PHWR are facing several issues such as promptness in decision making, speed of document approval, inspection coverage, modern technology introduction, and retaining young talents. Also, they have difficulties in the procurement of materials and products, quantities are not sufficient for MOQ, issue as FIM, and converting material to ASME; they should standardize QAPs to start work quickly.
Some of the ways to remedy to this situation are to adopt a center of excellence instead of L1 bidding which is to identify few industries which will keep making the same products such as the American and French did in the past. Also, they need to have dependable and experienced manufacturers, in addition to a platform for knowledge sharing between industries.
Challenges for Light Water Reactor (LWR) and the Industry
The localization would be the main challenge to overcome for LWR as it must provide electricity compared to PHWR, and localization must start from the beginning not till the 5th or 6th stage.
Similarly, no clarity on timeline of the project and supplier qualification for technology providers would constitute another challenge. Therefore, to overcome those obstacles LWR needs localization policy and commitment from technology providers; also, impeccable firm timeline for projects and fund allocation for qualifications.
The challenges for the overall industry are to have appropriate skill development and retention of talents such as to start programs in collaboration with universities, develop nuclear codes and standards, and invest on upgrading technologies.
India Nuclear Business Platform 2019
The next edition of India Nuclear Business Platform (INBP) will take place 13-14 November in Mumbai. Featuring a cutting-edge conference and exhibition, INBP brings together all the key Indian nuclear stakeholders to discuss issues across the Indian nuclear supply chain. INBP is helmed by an Advisory Board which is responsible for steering the focus and content of the platform.
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