Who are Russia’s competitors in India’s nuclear energy market

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Who are Russia’s competitors in India’s nuclear energy market
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Almost ten years have passed since the end of India's nuclear isolation and the conclusion of a nuclear agreement with the United States, but to date, only one NPP project has been implemented in partnership with a foreign country - and this is Russia, Nuclear Asia says.

Two large projects with the participation of U.S. and French nuclear companies have been delayed and no specific agreement with the Indian Atomic Energy Corporation (NPCIL), the state enterprise responsible for electricity generation in the country, is expected by now.

Nevertheless, by the end of the year, the French operator of nuclear power plants EDF plans to present its proposal to the Indian side, while the U.S. corporation Westinghouse, which also operates in the field of nuclear energy, expects to emerge from its bankruptcy. But the Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom is already looking forward to the completion of units No. 3 and 4 at the Kudankulam NPP. It should be noted that both Westinghouse and EDF intend to focus their proposals on the supply of nuclear reactors and other equipment, handing over to the Indian colleagues the responsibility to build the facilities.

The project of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra, which is planned to be implemented jointly with the French company, could become the world’s largest NPP with a total capacity of 9.6 GW. However, when the French energy giant Areva faced financial problems, the future of the project was put into question. In 2017, the company acquired EDF and since then the project has been negotiated by the French company and the Indian Atomic Energy Corporation. EDF says it is going to be responsible only for engineering and procurement, while the Indian party will carry out the construction.

Negotiations with Westinghouse to build six reactors worth $20 billion began in 2009. But last year, the U.S. company declared bankruptcy. Later, Westinghouse was acquired by the Canadian consortium for $4.6 billion. It should be noted that Westinghouse's contract with Indians can be signed only after the bankruptcy procedure is over. Associating its financial problems with construction, the company said that it would only deal with the supply of reactors, while construction activities will be outsourced.

The only foreign partner that has successfully implemented an NPP project in India is the Russian state corporation Rosatom. The construction of power units No. 1 and No. 2 of the Kudankulam NPP has already been completed, and last year, the first concrete was poured into the site of the third power unit. The construction of the Kudankulam NPP, one of the largest nuclear power plants in India, is proceeding according to schedule, with the equipment delivery already started.

As Nuclear Asia notes, one of the main reasons for Rosatom's success is close relationship between India and Russia.