Mumbai/New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) Laying the groundwork for President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed visit in early 2023, France and India on Tuesday discussed ways to revive and speed up the massive nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district, languishing for several years now, officials said.
Science and Technology Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh met visiting French Minister Chrysoula Zacharopoulou with her high-level delegation in this regard in New Delhi and discussed Indo-French collaboration in the nuclear energy sector.
The two countries also discussed ways to speed up the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra, part of an umbrella nuclear deal signed between India and France in September 2008.
The agreement envisages setting up six European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) of 1,650MW each, making it the largest nuclear power generation site in the world, to come up with French technical collaboration – but stuck owing to various hurdles for the past nearly 15 years.
While India has accorded its ‘In Principle’ approval for the project in December 2021, French company EDF submitted its binding techno-commercial offer to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) last year, followed by meetings in May.
Jitendra Singh assured Zacharopoulou that the technical, financial and civil nuclear liability issues would be resolved at the earliest by both sides well before the scheduled visit of the French President to India, preceded by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire’s trip in mid-December.
The two sides reaffirmed the commitment to the success of the strategic Jaitapur project for reliable, affordable and low-carbon energy, and resolved to clear out all pending issues on priority.
The NPCIL will construct and commission the units, obtain all necessary permits and consents in India including certification of the EPR technology by the Indian regulator, and own and operate the Jaitapur plant in future.
Dr Singh said that the net zero targets are expected to be met through a combination of various clean energies like nuclear power, and currently the country’s nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW is planned to be increased to 22,480 in the next 10 years after various ongoing projects are sanctioned and completed.
The two ministers also dwelt on the recent meetings between President Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Paris, in the meeting attended by France’ Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain, Nuclear Counsellor Thomas Mieusset and others.