To lower the cost and make it competitive, Areva has decided for local sourcing and assembling of part of the plant

French nuclear energy conglomerate Areva SA, which is the technology provider for the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, said it was working with Nuclear Energy Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to bring down the cost of the project so that power could be supplied at cheaper rates.

The delay in the execution of the project and devaluation of the rupee has resulted in cost escalation, and Areva said it would work on different parameters to make nuclear power affordable in India.

“We are negotiating for this project for some time. Now we are talking (with NPCIL and DAE) to get an agreement on price for at least the first two reactors (of this nearly 10 GW power plant),” Tarik Choho, Chief Commercial Executive Officer, Areva SA told The Hindu.

“In 2010 when the agreement was signed to make this project viable the cost of power from this plant was estimated at Rs.4 per kilowatt hour. That time the investment parameter was different. We have improved that offer by commercial efforts. Now that the cost has gone up we are trying to understand the calculation and will be working on different parameters to lower the cost,” Mr. Choho who is currently visiting India to meet NPCIL officials said.

As per latest calculation the cost of power to be generated from the Jaitapur plant has gone up to Rs.9 per kilowatt hour and NPCIL plans to bring down this cost to Rs.6.5 per kilowatt hour.

To lower the cost and make it competitive, Areva has decided for local sourcing and assembling of part of the plant. Areva’s inputs to the plant would be to the extent of 40 per cent.

“We want to make sure that our part is competitive, safe and the project is viable,” he added.

The plant was scheduled for commissioning in 2017 and with the delay in land acquisition if work starts now, it would be operational in 2021.

Areva which has already has an order backlog of 45 billion Euros said it would have a larger play in India by supplying nuclear reactors and uranium to this market.

India already has 20 operational nuclear reactors and Areva is eyeing nuclear fuel supply order from these reactors.

Besides, Areva is executing 125 mw compressed solar plant for Reliance Power in Rajasthan and expecting more orders from Reliance and other power producers.

Bio-mass energy unit

Mr. Cheho said the company's bio-mass energy unit at Chennai, which has already executed five projects in India, was doing a pioneering job and helping Areva to cater to the Southeast Asian markets by supplying technology from here.

Three bio mass power plants are being set up at Thailand and Philippines by the Avera India team from Chennai, he added. These plants use rice husk as fuel to generate energy.

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