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Areva to import critical parts for first nuke units in India

Chennai, Oct 15 (IANS) French nuclear group Areva is at an advanced stage of negotiations with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to supply six mega light water reactors and will import major components like pressure vessel and primary loop for the first two units.

Areva is seeking to sell six 1,750 MW European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), which will be housed in Jaitapur nuclear park in Maharashtra.

‘We are in the process of wide ranging discussions with NPCIL on our localisation plans to bring down the overall cost. Meanwhile, we will be importing critical components like pressure vessel, primary loop and others at least for the first batch,’ Areva India’s Director Marketing and Strategy Patrick Teyssier told IANS.

According to him, the first concrete pour for the two EPRs (light water reactors) is expected to be around 2012-13 and NPCIL’s target date for completion is 2017.

Asked about the rough price of the EPRs, he said the price per kilowatt (kW) hour of power depends on component localisation efforts.

When told about the US-based Westinghouse Electric Company’s component sourcing policy of ‘buy where you build’, Teyssier said: ‘Though we don’t have such slogans our plan is to have more local content.’

The US company is hoping to sell its AP 1,000 model reactors to NPCIL.

Citing Areva’s joint venture with Bharat Forge Ltd for making large forgings, Teyssier said: ‘We are open to lot of cooperation. Indian industry will get large packages. The civil engineering work will be by an Indian vendor.’

He ruled out Areva providing any kind of vendor financing to NPCIL for the purchase of reactors.

According to NPCIL, the price per kW of Indian pressurised heavy water reactors is around $1,300– the lowest in the world.

Added Areva’s senior research scientist Luc Van Den Durpel: ‘The EPR is around 15 percent fuel efficient compared to others in the world. It has several active and passive safety features.’

Asked whether the EPR has got the regulatory approval from India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Teyssier said: ‘We have provided NPCIL documentations running over 1,000 pages. The NPCIL, the plant operator, will discuss with AERB.’

Agreeing that EPR is new to the world, Teyssier said four units are under construction, one each in Finland and France and two in China. These will be completed between 2012-14.

‘The reactor is about to be licensed in the US and UK. However, the balance has shifted towards Asia where two out of four units under construction are in China, and India is looking to buy six units,’ he said.

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