France has given a fresh techno-commercial proposal for building six atomic reactors in Jaitapur even as it again raised concerns over India’s civil liability law and sought “same level of protection” which are available for companies at the international level.
An Electricite de France (EDF) team, comprising senior officials, is currently holding talks with the Ministry of External Affairs and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIl) on setting up of these plants.
“We have raised our concerns over the liability issue. France is a party to Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. We want similar binding conditions in the Jaitapur contract.
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“All these steps will help us bring nuclear industry players from France to India. The delegation has asked to provide same level of protection to the EDF which is available at the international level,” a top EDF official told PTI.
“We have also given a fresh techno-commercial proposal to NPCIL. It’s now up to the NPCIL to decide,” the official added.
The proposal includes negotiating with India for six reactors as against two, which was the case earlier. This would help bring down the cost. It also includes a proposal for localisation of technology to make the project cost effective.
The EDF has raised concern over various clauses dealing with the Right to Recourse under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act 2010.
Though the French side still has some concerns over the impact of India’s liability law, they acknowledged the Indian government has taken several steps to assuage those through initiatives like formation of Nuclear Insurance Pool.
In February, in a significant move aimed at putting an end to the contentious liability issue and assuage suppliers’ concerns, India ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.
The move will help establish a worldwide liability regime of enhanced compensation for nuclear damages.
The EDF, which took over the nuclear energy arm of Areva, the company which was initially supposed to build the reactors, will construct six reactors with a capacity of 1650 MW each at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.
After completion, this will be one of the largest nuclear parks in the world.
During French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India earlier this year, India and France had drawn up a road map for concluding techno-commercial negotiations for the Jaitapur project by the end of 2016. Accordingly, an MOU was signed by EDF and the NPCIL.