5 Feb : India on Wednesday signed its first commercial pact to build atomic power plants with French company Areva after a 34-year-old international embargo on nuclear trade was lifted.
Areva will supply two European Pressurised Reactors of 1650 MW each for nuclear plants the French company will build at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.The Memorandum of Understanding for building nuclear plants was signed by S K Jain, Chairman and Managing Director Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva.
"This is just the beginning," said Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission who was present at the signing ceremony along with Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the PMO and Anne-Marie Idrac, French Minister for Foreign Trade.
Lauvergeon said the Areva was committed to supply fuel for the lifetime of the reactors, which she pegged at about 60 years.
She said Areva will meet the fuel requirements through its uranium mines located in various countries, including Australia, Kazakhstan and Niger.
Though the MoU provides for supply of two nuclear reactors, the order may be stepped up to six at a later date.
All the reactors will be located in a nuclear park Areva has been tasked to develop at Jaitapur.
The cost of one EPR has been estimated at between 5.2 and 7.8 billion US dollars, although final costs are subject to negotiation.