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French company Areva signs nuclear power deal with India

Article published on the 2009-02-04 Latest update 2009-02-06 13:44 TU

Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva (left) and S.K. Jain, CEO of Nuclear Power Corporation of India.(Photo: AFP)

Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva (left) and S.K. Jain, CEO of Nuclear Power Corporation of India.
(Photo: AFP)

French multinational company Areva has signed a deal worth around 20 billion euros to supply nuclear reactors to India.

The deal between the French company, which has manufacturing facilities in 43 countries around the world, and the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India includes the sale of two to six nuclear reactors.

It is also likely to include the supply of fuel for the reactors for the project, which India has earmarked for the western state of Maharashtra.

India was prevented from trading with other countries in nuclear power by an embargo imposed in 1974 after a series of nuclear tests.

This embargo was lifted last year after negotiations with the US and approval by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

India currently has 17 nuclear reactors in operation which supply around 2.5 per cent of the country’s electricity. But this figure is set to rise with an aim to produce four to five per cent of the country’s electricity by nuclear power by 2020.

"I think if there is a nuclear renaissance, much of that will be in countries with established nuclear power programmes, but that includes particularly India and China, which are developing countries […] of the countries with the three highest number of reactors under construction, India and China are two of them," said Alan McDonald from the IAEA.

Expert: Alan McDonald, IAEA, Vienna

04/02/2009 by Chris Thompson

Meanwhile France is one of the world’s largest net exporters of nuclear energy and produces over 75 per cent of its power from nuclear reactors.

With around 60 nuclear reactors around the country, France has an extremely low level of CO2 emissions per capita and the country took the decision to ensure its own energy security in 1974 after the oil crisis.

Areva already has a big presence in India with energy transportation and distribution operations. It employs more than 4,200 people in the country and has eight industrial sites.

India, which is the world’s 10th leading economic power, has huge needs in terms of energy and hopes improve its national grid, which is still not available to around 600 million people in the country.

"There are going to progress aggressively, because they have a lot of people, and they need a lot of power [...] they speak often about constraining their green house gas emissions, and they have limited fossil fuels," McDonald told RFI from Vienna.