Modi, Macron to weigh sovereign guarantee for N-plant

EDF wants Government of India to provide sovereign guarantee for investment in nuke plant in Jaitapur by Bpifrance S.A. and SFIL S.A. 

Modi will travel to Paris on Thursday for an official visit to France. (PTI File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will meet in Paris on Thursday and one of the issues they are expected to discuss is Paris's demand for a “sovereign guarantee” by New Delhi for financing the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. 

Modi will travel to Paris on Thursday for an official visit to France. He will hold a meeting with French President shortly after arriving in Paris. He will also take part in the G-7 summit, which will be held at Biarritz in south-western France later this week, as a “special invitee”.   

Prime Minister and French President are expected to review the progress made by both sides on the proposed 9900 MWe nuclear power plant in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. They are likely to particularly assess progress made in discussion over the draft of the techno-commercial agreement the Électricité de France (EDF) presented to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in December 2018.

The EDF asked for “sovereign guarantee” by Government of India for the investment to be made by two other financial institutions of France – Banque publique d'investissement S.A. (Bpifrance S.A.) and Société de financement local S.A. (SFIL S.A.) – for the project. 

“We are politically committed to finalize the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project as soon as possible,” G Balasubramanian, Joint Secretary (West) at the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, told journalists. He was responding to a question on the possibility of any breakthrough in discussion over the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP).  

The JNPP is going to be the largest nuclear power plant in the world with the EDF proposed to install six 1650 MWe European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) in the plant. 

The NPCIL, a public sector undertaking of the Government of India, and the EDF inked an Industrial Way Forward agreement on JNPP on March 10, 2018. 

The EDF conveyed to the NPCIL that while it would provide the EPR reactors, the investment would come from the Bpifrance S.A. and the SFIL S.A., which would require sovereign guarantee by Government of India. 

“The techno-commercial offer (presented by EDF to the NPCIL in December 2018) is under active discussion,” Balasubramanian told media-persons in New Delhi during a briefing ahead of Prime Minister's travel to France.

Modi and Macron are likely to discuss the EDF's demand for the “sovereign guarantee” for the investment to be made by Bpifrance S.A. and SFIL S.A. 

The NPCIL and French nuclear energy giant AREVA had inked a Memorandum of Understanding on JNPP in February 4, 2009. The EDF later took over the AREVA.

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