French Ambassador optimistic that work on the Jaitapur nuclear plant will begin soon

Alexandre Ziegler, French Ambassador to India.   | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

Even as the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) is back on the negotiating table between the Indian and French governments, talks on liability and costs are yet to see a breakthrough in this 9,900 MW plant — the world's largest in terms of capacity.

Speaking to The Hindu, Alexandre Ziegler, the Ambassador of France to India, said that the political will shown by the present government is pushing the project forward at a remarkable speed. “One must understand that it [Jaitapur] is the largest nuclear project in the world, and the way government has moved, I am sure the work will begin very soon,” he said.

Mr. Ziegler refused to specify any deadlines for the commencement of work on the project. The French Ambassador was speaking in the city after attending the 9th edition of India Nuclear Energy (INE), an exhibition for developing the nuclear energy sector in India, which has also seen participation from French companies.

Jaitapur power plant
  • The world’s largest nuclear power plant in terms of capacity (9,900 MW).
  • Six reactors, each with a capacity of 1,650 MW.
  • The project faces intense opposition from locals as well as anti-nuclear activists over issues related to safety, technology and techno-commercial agreements.

The French firm EDF is to build six reactors, each with a capacity of 1,650 MW using European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) technology, at Jaitaipur, about 400 km south of Mumbai, on the coastal of Ratnagiri district.

The project was earlier with another French company Areva, which ran into bankruptcy. Negotiations recommenced after EDF made a fresh proposal to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) last year.

The Jaitapur project has seen intense opposition from locals, as well as anti-nuclear activists, over issues related to safety, technology and techno-commercial agreements between the two countries.

“There are no major problems. Issues over liability need to be fixed; they are presently being discussed. Cost issues will always arise for any project, and for a gigantic project like this, they are bound to be discussed in detail. We are confident that the issues will be solved soon,” Mr. Ziegler said.

Replying to a question on the fear that EPR was not proven technology and not a single project under it has been commissioned till date, Mr. Ziegler said EPR is “the safest and most sufficient technology at present”.

“The political will shown by the present government is pushing the project forward at a remarkable speed.”

“You might not see a commissioned plant, but three foreign countries, including the U.K., have already begun work using it,” he said, adding that the U.K.’s acceptance of EPR is in itself a testimony to its reliability.

The French Ambassador added that the reactor in U.K.’s Flamville will begin functioning by by the end of 2018, while the project in China is likely to commence at around the same time.

According to Mr. Ziegler, the project will benefit both India and France equally. “It is the largest industrial project as well. It is equally interesting for both the countries to work on this project,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 1:29:56 AM |

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