The Government is committed to the Jaitapur nuclear project in Maharashtra and is awaiting completion of French review of safety aspects of the EPR design, the Minister for External Affairs, Mr S.M. Krishna, said on Thursday.
The French firm Areva is providing six EPR units for the proposed nuclear plant which is to come up in Maharashtra. The project has been delayed due to protests.
“Both sides (India and France) are committed to ensure the best level of safety,” the Minister said after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister, Mr Alain Juppe.
Stating that the issue of nuclear energy and co-operation between India and France came up at the meeting with the Indian Foreign Minister, Mr Juppe pointed out that nuclear energy was a valuable source of energy for the future provided we develop the highest level of safety.
“We are working on this at the international level with the International Agency of Atomic Energy,” Mr Juppe said.
A joint statement issued after the meeting states that India and France agreed to an early entry into force of the agreement on intellectual property rights on the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The joint statement also welcomed the progress in discussions between Areva and NPCIL, aiming at finalising the contract on the construction of two EPR reactors at Jaitapur and look forward to its early implementation.
“Following India's enactment of civil nuclear liability legislation, both countries stand ready to further exchange views on this issue so as to ensure the appropriate framework for the sound development of their cooperation,” the statement adds.
Besides, India and France look forward to the conclusion of an agreement between Alstom, NPCIL and BHEL for supplying the Indian nuclear power programme with the most recent technology for manufacturing turbo-generators, the statement said.
India has also invited greater French investment in infrastructure, food processing, hi-technology and green technology, Mr Krishna said. The two sides also renewed their determination to achieve a trade target of €12 billion by 2012, Mr Krishna said.
While welcoming the increase in foreign direct investment flows in both directions, India and France agreed to address the genuine concerns of investors.