India’s Jaitapur nuclear power project is being renegotiated over a year after French utility EDF signed a preliminary agreement to build six reactors. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and EDF have so far been unable to reach a consensus on the project cost, according to Indian media reports. BusinessLine said the EDF has proposed a cost of INR300m ($4.6m) per megawatt for the 9,900MWe capacity, citing “sources”. The EDF proposal INR100m/MW higher than the average cost of developing the Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) technology, according to “sources in the know”.
The EDF-proposed cost means the Jaitapur NPP will require an investment of INR29.7bn. NPCIL is contesting this cost and officials privy to negotiations with EDF told BusinessLine, “There are contentions regarding the tropicalisation of the power plant. The design of the plant will have to be modified once they are settled.” The project has to undergo modifications to suit the climatic conditions in Maharashtra. These variations have escalated the cost of the project with an operational life of 60 years. EDF is concerned that the regulatory regime in India that will have to approve higher tariffs resulting from cost escalation. There will also be demands for having a local EPC contractor to fast-track implementation of the project.
The Jaitapur project has been under discussion since 2009. After delays due to multiple protests, the project was revived in January 2016 during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India. In a joint statement on the visit, the two sides agreed on a roadmap of cooperation to speed up discussions on the project. The statement said, “Their shared aim is to start the implementation of the project in early 2017.”