Wednesday, March 25, 2009

India raises 8 billion euros for new reactors

Deal includes two Areva EPRs and nuclear fuel for 60 years

ElephantIndia is moving into the front range of countries able to raise money to develop nuclear energy after thirty years of near hibernation. This week Nuclear Power of India announced it has commitments of 8 billion euros ($10 B) to build two Areva 1,650 MW EPR reactors. Significantly, 70% of the project is subscribed through debt by a 15-bank consortium that includes ten from France. Bloomberg Wire Service reports that the deal also includes nuclear fuel for the reactors for the next 60 years.

Chairman Shreyans Kumar Jain said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg, “Our expression was for 3 billion euros, but we have got commitments for 8 billion euros,” he said.

The project with Areva, to be built at Jaitapur in western India, will be India’s first large reactor. The company may increase the number of reactors to six to form its first “nuclear park, but that will take place after the first two are built and operational.

India plans to add 20,000 MW of nuclear capacity by 2030 from the current 4 MW mostly supplied by aging ACEL heavy water reactors.  The company plans to invest $1.2 billion to buy equity in overseas uranium mines and is reportedly seeking long-term supply contracts with Kazakhstan and Canada.  The initial objective is to buy 750 tons of uranium a year. 

In doing so it will go head-to-head with China and Japan which are also seeking to lock in their uranium supplies. The difference is, for India, that it still can't convince Australia to sell it uranium because the Labor government there has concerns India will use some of the uranium for its military reactors. 

Shreyans Kumar JainJain (left) told Bloomberg the reason India is aggressively seeking to lock in uranium supplies is that, “We want to insulate all future programs from any possibility of starvation on account of fuel. We want to maintain a big inventory so that any disruption won’t result in wastage of the huge investments we plan to make building nuclear capacity.”

Kazakhstan deal is on

The Indian government plans to sign a previously announced nuclear trade agreement with Kazakhstan, Jain said. The company signed an accord for uranium supplies, mining and fuel fabrication technologies with Kazakhstan’s KazAtomProm in January 2009.

Nuclear Power plans to buy 2,000 tons of uranium from Kazakhstan over the life of the contract. The company will commit to build a 220 megawatt or a 540 megawatt power project in Kazakhstan.  India does not have a reactor design that is competitive on the world market. One of India's options in this part of the deal is to sub-contract the build to the Russians who just inked a 4,400 MW deal with India last November.

See also prior coverage on this blog

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1 comment:

Marcel F. Williams said...

India, China, Japan, S. Korea,Russia, Europe, even Brazil are all racing to build more nuclear reactors. It seems ironic that a president that comes from the state with the largest nuclear capacity, Illinois, and from the city where the nuclear reactor was invented, still hasn't said a word about nuclear power since he got into office.

Hopefully, if Obama is serious about resolving the political problem of nuclear waste then he'll eventually come out strongly in favor of the best energy source of them all.