India may have in place the first unit of its nuclear power plant built on technology from the US by 2018. The top two suppliers of nuclear reactors from the US —Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi — said they were confident of initiating work on India’s nuclear plants at Virdhi (Gujarat) and Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh) by 2012 and commission the first nuclear power unit in the next six years (by 2018).
“We expect the streamlining of export laws in the US by early 2010 which will give us the licence to supply nuclear reactors to India,” GE-Hitachi Senior Vice President Daniel L. Roderick told Hindustan Times.
“We expect to begin commercial discussions with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) immediately thereafter and start work at the site by 2012,” he said. The large scale construction of the nuclear plant should begin by 2014 after which it will take four years to commission the first unit, that is by 2018.
“We expect NPCIL to give contracts for two reactors at a time and this should happen by 2011,” Westinghouse Vice President Meena Mutyala said. “It will take six years to supply nuclear reactors thereafter which means we should be able to build a nuclear power plant in India by 2018.”
Both GE and Westinghouse will supply light water reactors (LWRs) to nuclear power plants in India. While the size of LWRs by GE-Hitachi is 1,520 mega watt electric (mwe), those by Westinghouse is of 1,100 mwe each. As India plans to begin with a pair of nuclear reactors using technology by US companies, a nuclear power capacity addition of 2,600 mwe can be expected by 2018.
“We also want to use India as a base for exports of components for nuclear power plants to the US and Europe,” Roderick said.