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Modi, Macron pact on N-power plants lined up for R-Day

Could be for a greenfield plant in a state that does not have any nuclear power units so far

Emmanuel Macron PTINEW DELHI: India and France are likely to sign an agreement to set up two new nuclear power plants in the country. The accord may be signed during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Delhi as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year.

Sources said the two sides have reached an agreement to expand their civil nuclear cooperation under which France is already committed to constructing six 1,650 MW units at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.

Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar last month signed an agreement with Russia to set up more units at the existing Kudankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu. India has been taking giant strides in cutting carbon emission and the current push for nuclear power is aimed at achieving the enhanced target of Nationally Determined Contribution of reducing the emission intensity of its GDP to 45% by 2030 from the 2005 level.

According to sources, the new Indo-French agreement may not be an expansion of the existing facility at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. It may be a greenfield plant in a state that does not already have a nuclear power unit. The Union government has already announced that it is looking at setting up new nuclear power plants in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Rajasthan.

France, along with the US and Russia, has been India’s biggest supporter in its quest for civil nuclear energy as well as in its negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency for safeguards. France was the first country to sign the civil nuclear agreement with India after the latter was given a waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.

France has emerged as a key ally of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has shared close ties with it successive presidents. He was the guest of France at last year’s Bastille Day, where the two nations signed a number of agreements, including one for the purchase of 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets. France and India entered into a strategic partnership in 1998, which gave a fillip to the bilateral relationship leading to cooperation in a large number of areas.

Jaitapur talks on
Talks are still on with Électricité de France over the Jaitapur plants. India’s stringent Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act has become a sticking point


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