THE INDO-US nuclear deal has brightened prospects of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) foraying into the nuclear power sector. The company is already a major supplier of thermal and hydropower equipments.
“BHEL is likely to go in for a tie-up in technology for manufacturing advanced nuclear sets. Process is on and the final decision will be taken soon after the US Senate okays the nuclear deal,” BHEL Chairman and Managing Director A K Puri told Hindustan Times during his recent Bhopal visit.
Puri said the company was extremely bullish on prospects of nuclear equipment supply business taking off following the recent deal with the US.
“Talks have been on with three-four leading global nuclear equipment suppliers. Tie-up with a foreign partner will mainly be for manufacturing equipment of 700 mw and 1000 mw capacities,” he added.
“Some American, Russian and French companies have approached us. We are talking to them. We may tie up with some foreign companies to enhance our capabilities,” said BHEL CMD.
Demand for nuclear power equipments is poised to shoot up with the Government likely to open up the sector for players other than Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). Private sector participation is also expected.
Referring to preparations made by the BHEL in connection with nuclear power, the CMD said the company had already begun enhancement of some of its existing manufacturing facilities in Tiruchi, Haridwar and Bhopal for a likely tie up in the process of developing nuclear projects.
“Most of the infrastructure was already in place. Only enhancement of existing facilities will be required to meet the demand from nuclear power developers,” he said.
Various power generation companies,ncluding NTPC, Tata Power and Reliance Energy have already evinced interest in venturing into nuclear power.
In the wake of the new Indo-US civil nuclear deal, NPCIL estimates the country could add 20,000-40,000 mw nuclear power generation capacity over the next 10 years or so, if several more players enter the sector.
The country’s nuclear power generation capacity, currently pegged at 3,310 MW, forms less than three per cent of the country’s total installed generation capacity of about 1,20,000 MW. Thermal power meets 70 per cent of India’s requirements, while hydro contributes about 24 per cent at present.