Kakrapar Atomic Power Station
India's target to rapidly step up nuclear power capacity may be stumbling because many suppliers have not been paid. The Government is now trying to borrow from state-owned companies to complete the projects.
New Delhi: India’s ambitious nuclear power plans are facing the sword of financial uncertainty. The Indian Government has acknowledged that major equipment for two nuclear power projects was delivered on time because the suppliers had not been paid. The projects are being set up by the government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
"The delay in supplies of major equipment for Kakrapar Atomic Power 3 & 4 (2x700 MW) and Rajasthan Atomic Power 7&8 (2x700 MW) projects by the industries was mainly on account of financial crunch and shortage of skilled manpower," says Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Atomic Energy.
The approved cost of units 7 and 8 of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station is $ 1852 million but the Government has approved about $ 150 million less, while the Indian government has approved USD 1723 million for units 3 and 4 of Kakrapar. NPCIL was scheduled to complete these projects in 2015 but the date has been put off to 2019.
India had changed the Atomic Energy Law this year to allow NPCIL enter into joint ventures with other government entities. "After the changes in the law, India would be able to set up a new nuclear power reactor in every four year," says Rajiv Nayan, senior research associate, Institute of Defense and Security Analysis.
Sources say that companies like NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation and NALCO have agreed to invest $ 1,500 million each in joint ventures with NPCIL.
"India will not get far even after adding this money with the amount available with NPCIL for investment. Costs and financing, therefore, complicate India’s ability to scale up nuclear power through its own means without relying on foreign imports," writes Anirudh Mohan, Junior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation in a research paper.
Currently, India is setting up 6,700-megawatt nuclear power projects across the country with an estimated cost of more than $ 18 billion.
Being the sole company authorized to set up nuclear power plants, NPCIL is faced problems in generating funds for these projects.