India has drawn up ambitious plans to add 63,000 mw of nuclear capacity by 2032. The government plans to buy about 21 additional foreign reactors for $175 billion (Rs 78,750 crore). Since this is likely to take some time, especially in the wake of the recent Japan disaster which has forced India to revisit its security plans, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) is currently focusing on nuclear power plants being developed through its tie-up with Nuclear Power Corporation of India. BP Rao, chairman and MD of BHEL speaks to HT about his company’s plans. Excerpts.
How will the Japan disaster affect India’s nuke power plans?
Following the recent disaster in Japan, we understand that NPCIL has decided to take some more time to access the technology designs and the security aspects of the sites proposed for setting up nuclear power plants using imported reactors. BHEL will continue to assist NPCIL in its plans to set up nuclear power projects using indigenous technology. There have also been statements that our indigenously built reactors are more safe.
How are the your tripartite agreement for nuclear power plants with NPCIL and Alstom fairing?
The joint venture company between the three partners is under government approval. We have already received the first order to supply two sets of 700-mw nuclear turbine generators package.
How prepared are you to make supplies for nuclear plants being conceived with higher rating foreign reactors?
NPCIL has identified sites for setting up nuclear power plants with higher rating reactor sets of 1,000 mw, 1,300 mw and 1,600 mw to be procured from foreign players. Till that happens, NPCIL continues to develop nuclear plants using the indigenous 700-mw PHWRs. At present, we are focusing on projects for supplying of equipments to these plants. In future, a series of nuclear power projects will come up using the foreign technology and to gear up for that, we have entered into agreements with leading suppliers including GE-Hitachi,Areva and Toshiba.
Do you plan to pick up equity in nuclear power projects being set up by NPCIL as your are doing for conventional power projects?
We are open to it and this is very much on cards. However, NPCIL today is funded by the Government of India and they have enough funding resources available. Going forward, we hope to be able to do so.