Areva-NPC talks get a leg up from N-deal

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Dec 4 2009, 04:18am hrs
The ratification of the Indo-French nuclear agreement by the French Parliament last week has given a major boost to the talks between French nuclear reactor supplier Areva and state-run Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) for the initial supply of two reactors of 1,650 mw for the proposed 10,000-mw Jaitapur power project in Maharashtra. NPC and Areva are currently holding talks over the costs involved.

An NPC official told FE, Areva reactors are currently priced at Rs 25 crore per mw. Based on this cost the total expenditure for the proposed 10,000-mw project will be close to Rs 2,50,000 crore. However, NPC, which has so far held three rounds of talks with Areva, has suggested that the project cost can be brought down if Areva can provide the necessary technology to Indian companies like L&T and Bhel to produce those reactors in India. This will help reduce reactor costs by 60%, which means the per-mw cost can be brought down to Rs 15. Besides, NPC has also recommended that the commissioning of these reactors can be carried out by roping in Indian companies such as L&T and HCC. The official also added that NPC and Areva are expected to arrive at an understanding in a couple of months and said that a positive outcome is expected and this can pave the way for a substantial cost reduction.

As reported by FE, so far NPC has tied up Rs 33,000 crore for two units of 1,650 mw, for the Jaitapur project. Of the Rs 33,000 crore, Rs 15,000 crore will be raised through external credit assistance from five major French banks and the remaining Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore, through Indian and French banks and financial institutions. The external credit assistance will be from a consortium of five French banksBNP Paribas, Societe Generale, HSBC, Calyon and Natixis.

NPC will infuse equity of Rs 10,000 crore for the Jaitapur project, while the remaining amount will be borrowed from both Indian and French financial institutions, he said. The actual ground breaking for two European pressurised water reactors (EPR) of 1,650 mw each at Jaitapur is expected to start by the end of 2010 or early 2011. A capacity of 3,300 mw will be achieved by 2016. Once the first two units come up, the NPC will replicate the fund-raising model. Two other EPRs of the same capacity will come up in three and a half years. NPC had begun the acquisition of 967 hectare for the project from October 15.


Forward movement

* Total expenditure for the proposed 10,000-mw project will be close to Rs 250,000 crore

* Cost can be brought down if Areva provides required tech companies like L&T and Bhel

* The move will reduce reactor costs by 60%, and the per mw cost can be limited to Rs 15

* NPC has so far tied up Rs 33,000 crore for two units of 1,650 mw, for the Jaitapur project