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India and France delay Areva nuclear deal

After being widely expected to announce a final deal for the construction of six new nuclear reactors today, India and France instead said the deal will be finalized within a year.

The announcement was made by French President Francois Hollande, who is currently on a visit to India. à‚ 

The reactors would be built in Maharashtra state by French nuclear firm Areva, with work on all six to begin simultaneously in a move away from the two-at-a-time model India had previously followed when working with Russia’s Rosatom. Once completed, the reactors’ capacity is expected to total 9.9 GW.

In advance of today’s announcement, analysts had suggested that a roadmap and a final deadline for construction of the Areva reactors would be forthcoming after previous delays to the project, which was first announced in 2010.

India’s Economic Times newspaper attributed the delays to state-owned National Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)’s “over-cautiousness about stepping into uncharted waters” and to ongoing internal negotiations after EDF agreed in July to acquire 51 per cent of Areva, while other analysts cited land rights disputes and the difficulty of negotiating India’s laws on accident liability.