NEW DELHI: India and France have signed an MoU for the construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, two months after the two countries decided to conclude the techno-commercial negotiations for the project by the year end.

The pact was inked yesterday at the end of the two-day visit of a high-level delegation of Electricite de France (EDF – French public utility) to Mumbai for holding discussions with National Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) on the construction of the plants, diplomatic sources said.

French Ambassador to India Francois Richier, who was present on the occasion, reiterated his country’s commitment to working seamlessly with India through a collaborative approach to enable both sides to contribute collectively to the development of nuclear energy in India in the most economical manner.

The EDF visit was a follow-up on the State Visit of French President Francois Hollande to India in January, during which France and India drew up a cooperation roadmap for concluding techno-commercial negotiations for the Jaitapur project by the end of 2016.

“It may be recalled that, on this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Hollande welcomed the initialising of an updated MoU between EDF and NPCIL for the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur. This updated MoU was formally signed by EDF and NPCIL on 22nd of March,” the sources said.

Asserting that both industrial parties were working on the “Make in India” aspect of the Jaitapur project, they said this will be carried out through industrial partnerships, and joint ventures between Indo-French manufacturers for cost- effective and time-bound localisation in India.

In this regard, it will also include the transfer of rights on technology to be mutually agreed on by the parties.

EDF is France’s public electricity producer and supplier and has been designated by the French government for taking over AREVA NP.

EDF is now leading the negotiations for the French side, with the support of AREVA NP, for the Jaitapur nuclear park and supply of all equipment under EDF’s scope.

“The project will thus benefit from EDF’s recognised expertise and extensive experience in the development and construction of nuclear fleets and ensuring their safe and reliable operation,” the sources said.

The Jaitapur nuclear power project, proposing a nuclear power plant of 9900 MW, consists of 6 European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1650 MW each.