Leading private power producers like Tata Power, Reliance Infrastructure and GVK will have to wait for at least seven to eight years before they are allowed to enter the nuclear power generation business.
These companies had announced plans to set up nuclear power projects after the India-US civil nuclear deal was signed on September 6, 2008.
Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for power, told Hindustan Times that the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the ministry of power have decided to push for partnerships within the public sector to develop nuclear power projects in India. As a result, a major chunk of the targeted nuclear power capacity by 2020 — 24,000 MW — is now expected to come through the public sector route.
“It may take about seven to eight years for the private sector to get into nuclear power generation,” Ramesh said. “We have no immediate plans to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to facilitate the entry of private sector in nuclear power generation.”
He said India needed sufficient experience in operating nuclear plants before opening it to private players. “Security and safety of nuclear power plant operations are two aspects that cannot be overlooked at any cost.”
In all partnerships for nuclear power plants, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited — the government’s nodal agency — will have a 51 per cent stake.