Anil Sasi

New Delhi, Oct. 11 Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is set to commence formal negotiations with the four short-listed reactor vendors - Areva NP of France, GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse Electric and Russian firm Atomstroyexport - from early next week.

Preliminary work on a couple of sites - Jaitapur in Maharashtra and Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu - is likely to be off the block first.

The other locations where imported Light Water Reactors (LWR) are expected to come up are Pati Sonapur in Orissa and coastal sites in Saurashtra in Gujarat, in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

“NPCIL has already had several rounds of preliminary discussions with the four major vendors. Detailed discussions, including technical engagements, will get under way shortly,” a senior DAE official said.

Toshiba-owned Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactor series, GE-Hitachi’s ABWR reactors, Areva’s European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) and the Russian VVER 1000 (V-392) reactors are among the reactor-types short-listed by NPCIL based on “suitability” of technical parameters for placement of orders in the first phase.

NPCIL is looking to set up “Nuclear Parks” or reactor clusters, each with a capacity to house up to eight reactors of 1,000 MWe (mega watt electrical) or six reactors of 1600 MWe at a single location. The orders would initially be placed for two reactors at each of the locations, following which more reactors could be added at the same site, officials said.

While two Russian 1000 MWe VVER reactors are already being deployed at Koodankulam by Atomstroyexport, the greenfield Jaitapur site has been earmarked by the Department of Atomic Energy for collaboration with the French Government. Areva NP (the joint venture between Areva and Siemens) is likely to set up two EPRs at the site.

In the case of the new reactors at Koodankulam, the Centre plans to firm up the draft technical and economic proposals latest by March-April 2009.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 12, 2008)
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