Public sector major Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) is looking to tie up with private sector engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to jointly set up new-generation Light Water Reactor-based (LWR) capacities in the future. Currently, BHEL and L&T are separately in talks with four shortlisted global reactor vendors for technology tie-ups for the new LWR-based projects that are on the anvil.
“BHEL is keen on joining forces with L&T for the new nuclear orders. A tie-up with L&T will make the combine a formidable player spanning the conventional island and reactor portions for new orders,” a Government official involved in the exercise said. “NPCIL will act as a facilitator and play a major role in the assimilation of Light Water Reactor technology. At least two global vendors are likely to be selected in the first round for tie-ups,” the official said.
BHEL has been associated with NPCIL since the early seventies and has designed, manufactured and commissioned equipment of various ratings for nearly 3,280 MWe of NPCIL’s current installed capacity of 4,120 MWe. In April, BHEL inked a pact with NPCIL to float a joint venture to carry out engineering, procurement and construction activities for new nuclear projects. A joint team of NPCIL and BHEL is currently working on selecting a suitable technology partner for 700 MWe and above turbine generator sets for the new nuclear power projects.
Technology transfer to a local partner and joint manufacturing in India are among the key prerequisites that the Centre is insisting on prior to selecting foreign reactor vendors for new LWR capacities. NPCIL had earlier short-listed four global reactor vendors — Areva NP of France, GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse Electric (both of the US) and Russian firm Atomstroyexport — and is currently in talks to facilitate the formation of joint ventures involving these vendors and domestic equipment manufacturing firms for local manufacture of LWRs.
L&T is a formidable civil contractor and has also been involved in supply of equipment, systems and services to NPCIL for nearly all the Candu-type reactors that have been indigenously built. These include manufacture of critical equipment, including reactor (calandria), end-shields, stem generators, primary heat transport system and heat exchangers.
Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactor series, GE-Hitachi’s ABWR reactors, Areva’s European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) and the Russian VVER 1000 (V-392) reactors are among the reactor-types short-listed by NPCIL based on “suitability” of technical parameters for placement of orders in the first phase.
NPCIL is looking to set up “Nuclear Parks” or reactor clusters, each with a capacity to house up to eight reactors of 1,000 MWe or six reactors of 1600 MWe at a single location. Preliminary work on a couple of sites - Jaitapur in Maharashtra and Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu - is likely to begin first.
The other locations where projects are expected to come up are Pati Sonapur in Orissa, coastal sites in Saurashtra in Gujarat, in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Courtsey- Business line