Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Russians are coming to India and so are the French

The U.S. is being left behind in the race for market share

ElephantTo see where India's drive is headed to build 20 GWe of new nuclear powered electric generation capacity in the next 10 years, look at its aluminum and steel industries.

As India relaxes its government rules that limit private sector participation in new reactors, two huge heavy industrial firms are preparing bids to invest in new reactors dedicated to supplying power to their plants.

State-run National Aluminum Co. Ltd (NALCO) is making plans to acquire a nuclear power station in Gujarat. The Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) is also planning to acquire a dedicated reactor at the Gujarat site. Both companies will take minority stakes, up to 49 percent, in the reactors.

India now has the second most ambitious program on the planet to build new nuclear reactors, worth an estimated $150 billion. (Map of India's nuclear infrastructure.) With plans to build 20 GWe in the next 10 years. Total investments in nuclear energy by India could boost its contribution to as much as 8 percent of electricity by 2020.

A key factor in acquiring new reactors is India's reliance on Russian technology and, to a smaller degree, on similar offerings from France. U.S. firms simply aren't in the running due to a harsh supplier liability law that was enacted by India's parliament in 2010.

India, which once touted its "nonaligned status" in world politics, is now aligning itself with Russia on the east and France on the west to acquire nuclear reactor technologies.

Read the full story exclusively at ANS Nuclear Cafe now online.

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