Terming historic the €7-billion deal to supply two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) and uranium fuel for the next 25 years to India, French company Areva on Monday aired concerns about the lack of clarity in The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill 2010 passed by Parliament.

Addressing a group of select journalists here, Areva Global CEO Anne Lauvergeon said the company wanted more clarity on liability laws here but asserted the issue would not be a deal breaker. “It is very important for us to know the rules of implementation. Rules are going to be the key. The responsibility of the suppliers comes a lot of years after the start of a nuclear power plant. Who is responsible for what,” she asked.

She said Areva was looking forward to starting the first nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in 2018.

Areva, in partnership with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), is planning to build six nuclear power plants of 1650 MWe each at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

The formal agreement for the construction of the first two EPRs was signed between Areva and the NPCIL on the sidelines of the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The EPR, developed by Areva, has a 60-year life and the French company has assured India of supply of uranium fuel for the lifetime of the reactor. “No matter what happens, we are going to deliver uranium to NPCIL for lifetime… whatever be the bilateral or political situation.”

She said Areva was also open to joining hands with the NPCIL for making investments in its uranium mines spread across the globe. Areva owns uranium mines in several countries, including Canada, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Niger, Namibia and Australia.

Ms. Lauvergeon said there were still some pending issues with the NPCIL on a financing scheme for the deal and finalising the banks for this purpose. “We also need to do some fine-tuning on the interest rates for the deal.”

Ms. Lauvergeon said she would like the EPR to evolve as an Indian reactor and not as a foreign technology. “We are looking at exports of nuclear components and engineering technology from India by joining hands with the NPCIL and some private players.”

Stating that she understood that nuclear liability was a very emotional and politically sensitive issue, she said the EPRs fit perfectly well to India's needs.

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