The French electricity giant EDF announced on Friday that it had reached a turning point for the construction of a nuclear power plant in India presented as the largest in the world, outlining an upcoming agreement on this controversial project that has been delayed for several years.
EDF has handed over to the Indian public nuclear group “the binding French technical-commercial offer for the construction of six EPR (reactors) on the Jaitapur site”, the French group announced in a press release.
It is not yet an agreement but it is a crucial step. By committing in this way, the French public group, alone in the running, provides the basis necessary to conclude an agreement within a few months.
This would finally launch the construction of a site mentioned for more than a decade and closely monitored by the French and Indian authorities.
Supply 70 million homes with electricity
The first agreements were signed under the French presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, at the time with the nuclear giant Areva from which EDF inherited part of the activities, but the Japanese disaster of Fukushima in 2011 put a stop to it. , as with other large nuclear projects.
The two countries have since revived the affair in 2018 but, while construction was due to begin quickly, an agreement was again long overdue, despite the support of the Indian government of Narendra Modi.
The project, which aims to provide electricity to 70 million homes, has been the subject for years of local opposition including, until recently, the ruling party in the state of Maharashtra where Jaitapur is located.
Critics focus on the risk of earthquakes in the state of Maharashtra, where Jaitapur is located, and the consequences for the local fishery of the disposal of nuclear waste.
For its part, EDF emphasizes social benefits, estimating that the construction of the site will give employment to tens of thousands of people on the spot.
“The project would also generate significant economic benefits for the French nuclear industry over the entire duration of the project – around 15 years -, with the creation of tens of thousands of jobs within a hundred companies”, he added. added the group.
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