May 28, 2022

France’s EDF focusing on tech localisation with India

French energy company Electricite de France SA (EDF), which is collaborating with Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL) on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) in Maharashtra, is working toward localising the technology, chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy told ET in an interview.

Levy was in India May 23-24 to build on the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Paris and met senior executives and representatives of NPCIL to expedite the project. “EDF and NPCIL are working intensively on the development of this project based upon the French EPR technology. The Jaitapur project is a key pillar of Indo-French strategic cooperation,” Levy said. “EDF is actively engaged in materialising the Make in India and Skill India national initiatives as part of its localisation plans… Major partnerships have been agreed upon with key Indian industrial companies.”

EDF is getting ready to launch its nuclear engineering platform to be located in Mumbai, the CEO said. “There is a significant potential for the Indian supply chain with already 200 Indian companies identified in all fields of engineering and procurement, and dozens of companies in the process of qualification for the project,” Levy said. “I am proud that EDF can humbly contribute to supporting India’s vision for a sustainable future and of all the successes and positive steps taken over the years, allowing my visit.”

Jaitapur illustrates India’s determination to decarbonise its economy and actively support the Paris agreement, Levy said. “As consistently recalled by President Macron and Prime Minister Modi, France and India are committed to strengthening their global cooperation, notably in the field of civil nuclear (energy),” he said.

‘Pricing Commercially Sensitive’

“During the recent visit of PM Modi in Paris on May 4, both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the success of the Jaitapur EPR project for access to reliable, affordable and low carbon energy, and welcomed the good progress achieved over the last months. They called on EDF and NPCIL to move forward and achieve new progress, and this has been exactly the purpose of my visit to India,” he said.

Levy met representatives of the government, NPCIL and industrial partners such as Larsen & Toubro on his visit.

“EDF is fully in line with India’s pledge to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45% by the end of the decade and net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. JNPP will enable India to make a major step forward on decarbonisation with 80 million tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year,” the CEO said.

EDF will be the supplier of technology while NPCIL will be responsible for the construction of the EPR.

When asked about the plant’s power tariffs, Levy said, “You will understand that pricing related matters are commercially sensitive in the context of the discussions we are currently in. I can confirm though that the project will bring significant socio-economic benefits to the Indian economy in the long run, that is to say during the approximately 15 years of construction of the six units but also in the subsequent 60 years of operation at the least.”

The Jaitapur plant has the potential to boost economic development, notably thanks to the involvement of the state-of-the-art and skilled Indian nuclear industry, Levy said.

“It is in our DNA to deliver our projects relying on long-term cooperation and on the industrial capabilities of the countries where our projects are located,” the CEO said.

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