Negotiations were on between France and India to set up two nuclear power plants in southern Maharashtra, French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont said here on Friday.

Replying to questions at a press conference, he said the two 1,600 MWe European pressurised reactors (ECRs) would be set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and French company Areva. This could be followed by four more power plants.

He said the French Parliament had ratified the Indo-French nuclear agreement. The instruments of ratification would be signed by the governments soon.

In regard to processing of spent fuel, he said: “India is going to treat the spent fuel. In case of a surplus, reprocessing would be done in France.” He said the governments had decided to reopen high-level scientific cooperation, particularly in crucial areas such as nuclear energy. This would be followed by joint training programmes in the nuclear power sector.

Nearly 25 per cent of French exports to India were in aeronautics. It had been decided to identify new areas of cooperation, including agriculture and food products.

He said more than 500 French companies were located in India, employing 1.2 to 1.4 lakh people. France hopes to play a major role in India’s nuclear energy development programme, which is expected to increase nuclear power generation from about 4,000 MWe to 63,000 MWe by 2032.

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