‘UK can offer its expertise on nuclear power plants'

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on February 23, 2011

Ms Barbara Judge, former Chairperson of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.--- Shashi Ashiwal   -  Business Line

Ms Barbara Judge, United Kingdom's Business Ambassador and former Chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, is a lady on a mission. She is in India leading a large delegation of UK-based nuclear companies keen to tap the estimated $150-billion Indian market for nuclear power equipment.

The BP-Reliance Industries deal illustrates the commitment of British companies in collaborating with Indian companies, Ms Judge told Business Line, sharing insights on emerging prospects for companies from both the countries.

What opportunities do you see for the UK and Indian companies in wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal?

India is already a mature player in the nuclear sector, and the UK companies are looking at supplying ancillary equipment, services and imparting training to Indian companies. India is building a number of nuclear power plants based on French, US and Russian technology. Since none of the technologies are British, our companies can be totally objective and help build those power plants for India faster. As we have been in the nuclear business for 60 years and have a lot accumulated expertise, we have the ability to help build the forthcoming power plants based on all these foreign technologies.

What is the nature of synergy which the Indian and UK companies have achieved since the deal?

Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd makes forgings for power plants. These forgings are being further enhanced by application of technology from Sheffield Forgemaster. Eventually some of these forgings will find their way into British power plants. Currently six joint research projects are under way between India's Department of Atomic Energy and the UK Government, and about £2.4 million have been committed for these projects. Moreover, Rolls-Royce already has a memorandum of understanding with L&T for instrumentation and controls. Nuvia Ltd has a memorandum with Punj Lloyd for nuclear engineering and support services. The recent joint venture between BP and Reliance Industries just shows how committed the British companies are in having close cooperation with Indian companies.

What skills could the British nuclear industry offer in training the Indian personnel?

The National Skills Academy for Nuclear is working with all the universities in UK, and trying to impart fresh skills to engineers, so that they could become nuclear engineers. We are sending them to the right courses and giving them a ‘nuclear skills passports', which is a record of all the courses completed by these engineers in the UK. We would like engineers from India to come to the UK so that we can help train them or help Indian universities to train Indian nuclear engineers. We believe that these skills in nuclear engineering and training are a big opportunity which the UK can bring to India.

Published on February 23, 2011

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