India wants new tests before French reactors order

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 00:12

Vienna: India wants new test results in light of the Fukushima disaster before finalising a multi-billion-euro order with France`s Areva for new reactors, France`s energy minister said on Monday.

Eric Besson said that India`s nuclear atomic agency chief Srikumar Banerjee had told him in talks on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the UN atomic watchdog that he wanted a "post-Fukushima certification."

The Indian message was however passed on in a "very positive" fashion, Besson said at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

France`s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) is due to give by the end of the year its first recommendations on its nuclear power plants, including on a European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) under construction -- the kind eyed by India.

The disaster in March at Japan`s Fukushima Daiichi plant, caused when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out reactor cooling systems, has caused reactor orders around the world to be scrapped, frozen or delayed.

India, along with China as a major market for new nuclear plants, signed last December a framework deal worth an estimated seven billion euros (USD 9.5 billion) for Areva to build two EPR reactors, plus an option for four more.

Once finalised, it would allow Areva to steal a march on US and Japanese competitors in the race to sell reactors to India, which aims to tap atomic power for a quarter of its power by 2050 from less than three percent now.

A 34-year-old embargo on civilian nuclear exchanges with India, imposed in 1974 following a series of Indian nuclear tests, was lifted in 2009 after years of negotiations between India and the United States.

Bureau Report




comments powered by Disqus