Several foreign companies have expressed interest in investing in nuclear power plants in India, it emerged on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video conference dedicated Unit I of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu to India.
Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan were on video conference from New Delhi, Putin from Moscow and Jayalalitha from Chennai. Modi said during the dedication: "Kundankulum 1 is an important addition to India's continuing efforts to scale up production of clean energy in India. It also signals our joint commitment to build pathways of partnership for green growth."
Addressing Putin, he said: "In dedicating Kudankulum 1, we mark another historic step in India-Russia relations. Its successful completion is not just another fine example of the strength of our special and privileged strategic partnership. It is also a celebration of our abiding friendship. And, it is only a start of our collaboration in this field."
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh said in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that Westinghouse Electric Company and GE-Hitachi from the United States, Rosatom from Russia and Electricite de France "have shown interest in participating in the country's nuclear power projects in various capacities as technology partners, suppliers, contractors, service providers, etc."
He, however, explained: "As per the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy of the government, FDI is not permitted in the nuclear power sector. Thus, foreign companies cannot invest in nuclear power."
But that would not deter these companies, as, Singh explained: "Nuclear power projects to be set up with foreign technical cooperation are planned to be funded by a mix of equity and debt, with equity to be mobilised from internal resources of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), joint venture companies between NPCIL and other central public sector undertakings and government budgetary support. Foreign companies can, however, invest in the supply chain for nuclear power projects."
He also said: "Every twin-unit nuclear power station would generate a direct employment of about 850 [people], comprising engineers, supervisors, technicians and other personnel. In addition, indirect employment for thousands of people would be generated with suppliers, contractors, service providers, etc. The resultant increase in economic activity would open up opportunities for various businesses and will result in further employment generation."