French energy major Areva, which is supplying nuclear fuel for Indian reactors, has offered partnership stakes to the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in its uranium producing mines abroad.
"We have offered to NPCIL and the Atomic Energy Commission to invest with us in our new and existing uranium mining projects," chairman and managing director, Areva India, Arthur de Montalembert told HT in an exclusive chat.
"NPCIL has shown interest and talks are progressing for a stake in some uranium mines in Africa."
Areva is one the biggest producers of uranium and has mines in Canada, Kazakhstan and Africa.
The company will supply NPCIL with six of its European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) in an estimated R60,000 crore deal. It is hoping for an early start to the construction of one of the world's largest nuclear power complexes at Jaitpur in Maharashtra.
The EPR reactors to be supplied for Jaitpur nuclear power plant is a third-generation reactor and is touted as the most advanced in its class.
The Jaitpur plant is one of several nuclear power developments proposed for a 200-km strip of the Maharashtra coast, south of Mumbai, with a total generating capacity of around 33,000-MW. India currently has 4,700-MW of nuclear generating capacity.
Construction at the Jaitpur project has got delayed after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan. However, Montalembert said he expects the first two reactors for the 9,600 MW Jaitpur nuclear power project to be commissioned by 2018-19.
"Talks have resumed now and we have already signed a number of agreements. The supply for Jaitpur nuclear power complex will be of six reactors, each of 1600 MW," Montalembert said, adding that Areva hopes to sign the final agreement with NPCIL soon.
The size of Areva's 1,650 MW reactor is being modified to 1,600 MW to suit India's requirement, he added.
Montalembert said initially the reactors will be built at Areva's plants in France. Later, after tie-ups with Indian companies, subsequent reactors will be built with localised parts.
"We are in talks with companies such as L&T (Larsen & Toubro) and Bharat Forge for creating joint manufacturing facilities for nuclear parts and reactors in India," he said.
Montalembert said Areva is looking at various states including Maharashtra and Gujarat for such manufacturing bases.