India joined a select band of nations on Monday when the Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) here successfully manufactured critical tubes required for steam generators of nuclear power plants.

Currently, only three companies in the world are producing the UNS NO8800 U tubes with NFC becoming the fourth entity. The first tubing consignment was handed over to Larsen & Toubro, which is manufacturing eight steam generators for Kakrapara (3 and 4 units) and Rajasthan (7 and 8 units) nuclear power plants being set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

Each steam generator will need 2,500 tubes and NFC would be supplying 20,000 tubes for the eight steam generators by the middle of 2013-14. In tune with L& T's strategy of promoting self-reliance, the company had opted to source the tubes from NFC rather than importing them. To pool the strengths of both the organisations, NFC and L &T have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for long-term manufacture and supply of SG tubes, establishing the complete supply chain for the tubes.

Addressing a press conference here, NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director, S.K. Jain, L& T Vice-President, M.V. Kotwal and Chief Executive of NFC R.N. Jayaraj said that all along, these tubes, which formed the most important component in heat exchange, were being imported.

To a question on making operational the first unit of Kudankulam plant, Mr. Jain said work had begun on a war-footing and employees were working hard.

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