The leaders of France and India reiterated their intention to start work by the end of 2018 on what could become the world’s largest nuclear power plant.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Electricite de France SA(EDF) and India’s monopoly atomic energy producer, Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd(NPCIL), to accelerate discussions on a contract and start work at the site in Jaitapur, in Maharashtra state, by December 2018.
“Once installed, the Jaitapur project will be the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with a total capacity of 9.6 gigawatts,” according to a joint statement issued Saturday by the governments during Macron’s visit to India.
As early as on 6 December 2010, an agreement was signed for the construction of a first set of two third-generation European Pressurized Reactors and the supply of nuclear fuel for 25 years in the presence of French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. French state-controlled nuclear engineering firm Areva S.A. and Indian state-owned nuclear operator NPCIL signed the agreement, valued about $9.3 billion. This is a general framework agreement that was signed along with the agreement on ‘Protection of Confidentiality of Technical Data and Information Relating to NPCIL in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy’.
In 2018 Dec, French company EDF has submitted a techno-commercial proposal to the government for the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, in a significant step towards the progress of the project, sources said. A techno-commercial offer is an important step in the negotiations process as it helps the two parties determine the cost of the project and tariff of the electricity generated from it.
History of French-Indo Cooperation
In 1982, France agreed to take over supply of approximately 50,000 SWU per year of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to India’s General Electric-built Tarapur reactors, following the cessation of U.S. fuel supplies.
In January 1995, India received its first consignment of LEU for the Tarapur nuclear plant from China. Indian officials said that the uranium will be converted into fuel assemblies along with a MOX fuel developed by DAE. France stopped supplying Tarapur in 1994, stipulating that India must first submit to IAEA full-scope safeguards before shipments resume.
In 2005, India and France issued a joint statement under which France acknowledges “the need for full international civilian nuclear cooperation with India,” pledging to “work towards this objective by working with other countries and the NSG and by deepening bilateral cooperation.”
In December 2008, AREVA signed an agreement with India’s DAE to supply 300 tons of uranium to NPCIL. The contract is concluded in 2009.
In February 2009, NPCIL signed an MoU with France’s AREVA to set up two to six EPR reactors (advanced pressurized water reactors) at Jaitapur.
In October 2009, India designated the following sites for setting up light water power reactors: Jaitapur, in cooperation with France; Kudankulum and Haripur, in cooperation with Russia; and Chhayamithi Virdi and Kovvada, in cooperation with the United States.
India and France have made “satisfactory progress” on an agreement to develop six reactors of a 10,000 MW nuclear power plant project in Maharashtra, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told the Parliament on Thursday.
The Industrial Way Forward Agreement was signed between NPCIL, which comes under the DAE, and EDF on 10th March 2018 for the “implementation” of the reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.
Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha that “both the governments noted that satisfactory progress had been made in pursuance of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement in 2018 between NPCIL and EDF and adopted the status of progress for implementation.”
Opportunities in Jaitapur NPP
Although the government and the operator still need to overcome some challenges to ensure the smooth progress of the project, but there also many proponents are advocating the Jaitapur Project as safe, environmentally benign and an economically viable source of electrical energy to meet the increasing electricity needs of India. They argue that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by decreasing India’s dependence on foreign oil.
According to former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar, the Jaitapur site is the best as it fulfilled the technical and scientific requirements for a nuclear power plant. It is proposed that the spent fuel generated at this nuclear power plant be recycled. Only five per cent of it would be encapsulated and stored for 30 to 40 years, till scientists develop some technology to treat it. The environmental impact assessment and other associated studies of the Jaitapur project have been carried out in detail over the last few years by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur in collaboration with several other reputed organisations specialising in specific environment studies.
Cost is always a dominant factor in the Indian market. The initial estimate for the EPR-design reactors being built in France was 3.3 billion euros when the project was announced in 2005. The Flamantville project has since seen massive delays in addition to cost overruns. However, Vakis Ramany, senior vice-president at EDF, told Business Standard in an e-mailed interview that they were looking to reduce the cost at Jaitapur, to bring down the cost of power supplied. Last month, it had sent a formal techno-commercial proposal to NPCIL, subsequent to an agreement signed 2018 March.
Ramany said, without giving any details, that the electricity generated will be competitive over decades. “The prospect of being able to build six EPR units at a single site will create significant economies of scale. Our experience of EPR projects in France, the United Kingdom and China is also a significant cost reduction factor.”
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Reliance Industries, alongside Bureau Veritas India and Egis India, are among the companies that EDF sees as strategic partners in the project. “L&T has strong industrial experience. Their position as a supplier of NPCIL naturally led us to a partner with them. Our subsidiary, Framatome, continues its historical cooperation with L&T for the manufacturing of certain components of the nuclear island in India,” said Ramany.
Reliance is part of the engineering platform that will be launched in 2019 to produce in India most of the detailed engineering work for the nuclear systems of all the six reactors.
EDF, with Assystem, Egis India, and Bouygues, is part of this platform. The signing of a pre-bid agreement between EDF, Reliance, and Assystem in July 2018 is aimed to allow full localization of the auxiliary systems at Jaitapur.
Therefore, global nuclear firms, especially French firms are paying closer attention to Indian nuclear market and Jaitapur NPP. The upcoming project with a mass of potential opportunities is attracting more and more global players to India. India Nuclear Business Platform (INBP) provides a world-class platform to access and gain first-hand insights on the global and especially Indian nuclear market. Now in its 2nd year, the conference provides latest updates and addresses hot-button issues while the diversity and seniority of participants facilitates unparalleled networking opportunities.
Dr. Fawzi ISSA, Jaitapur Deputy Director & Head of EDF Mumbai Liaison Office, will speak at INBP 2019. Last year, Dr. Fawzi shared EDF’s perspectives on how can Indian Industry participate in LWR Localization. To get the first-hand information of EPR projects in Jaitapur, please join our 2019 INBP in Mumbai on November 13-14. For more information,
Author: Vincent Xu. APAC Account Manager (Nuclear).