India and France may have cloaked it well enough not to cloud the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, but the Jaitapur nuclear power project has got caught in a logjam that both sides are finding difficult to address.
The problem is with the massive 1,600 MW EPR reactors to be installed in Jaitapur. The technology is yet to be proven despite being under works for over a decade. None of the EPR sites — Flamanville in France, Okiluoto in Finland and Taishan in China — have become functional by way of generating power on a commercial basis.
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) guidelines in India are clear that it cannot approve a nuclear power project without a ‘reference site’, which should be up and running with the same technology. In other words, the technology has to be proven. As a result, India and France may agree to milestone charts or “way forward” agreements like the one reflected in the joint statement issued after Macron’s visit, but cannot seal any legal commercial document on the project. Read More…
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