India talking to France, US on nuclear programmes

India is in the process of holding technical level discussions with France and the US for its civil nuclear programmes, a senior NPCIL official said.

Chennai: India is in the process of holding
technical level discussions with France and the US for its
civil nuclear programmes, a senior Nuclear Power Corporation
of India Ltd (NPCIL) official said on Wednesday.

"We are also talking to the French right now. The French
regulators` report post Fukushima has come just a couple of
days back, and we are studying it. Thereafter, we will again
have a detailed technical discussion with the French vendors
and we wish to go for that reactor, that is offering 1650 MW
from one unit, a very large capacity," Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj,
Director (Technical), NPCIL told reporters.

As for the US collaboration, he said, "In the next plan,
what we propose is that we will make eight units of 700 MW
each and eight units of light water reactors, which includes
four reactors of United States technology (two each, with two
vendors from the US). We are talking to them on technical

Strongly believing in the nuclear option to cater its
energy needs of the country, the Centre has already approved
plant proposals in many states, he said.

"Government has approved two locations in Madhya Pradesh,
one each in Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and
West Bengal...Right now, we are looking at Haryana and Madhya
Pradesh, where two sites have been offered. And we hope that
within this year, we should be able to start work there. So
there will be four units of 700 MW," he said.

Bhabha Atomic Reseach Centre was carrying out a research
on effects of the mild radiation and mild temperature of the
nuclear waste on hard rocks over which they were stored, he
said, replying to a query on the storing of nuclear waste.

Talking of the country`s first Prototype Fast Breeder
Reactor (PFBR), being built in Kalpakkam, Bhardwaj said
commissioning of the plant will take around two years.

"The construction will be completed between March and June
and then the commissioning starts. But, we must realise that
we are leading the world in this. So, we have to go every step
very cautiously. So, the commissioning time is going to be
very long for this...I would say, two years or so. It is going
to be a long drawn process, as far as the commissioning of the
first unit," he said.

Once the country`s first PFBR starts working, the
government has plans to open two more units of fast breeders
in the country.

"We will have two more plants in the next 12th plan, which
starts from this April, but we have to be cautious that this
plan is working. The real work for those two reactors once
this first reactor is commissioned. That is after two years
from now."

Asked about the delay in some of their projects, he said,
"the projects are getting delayed because of acquiring land.

Government land acquiring policy and resettlement &
rehabilitation policy is in the Parliament. So, unless that is
settled down, the state governments and others are waiting to
know what is the final procedure. I would say, that is holding
us back."