Nukewatch Quarterly Summer 2016
Nalco (National Aluminum Company Limited), the giant aluminum corporation and government of India enterprise, abruptly withdrew its interest in construction of two large power reactors at Kakrapara in the Northwestern state of Gujarat.
Prior to its withdrawal from the project, Nalco’s web site boasted that the company “has formed a Joint Venture (JV) with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for establishing two 700 MW nuclear power plants at an estimated investment of [$11.4 billion].” Nalco had planned a 26 percent stake in the new entity, NPCIL. The Government of India holds 80.93 percent equity of Nalco.
In 2012, the $7 billion aluminum company signed a memorandum of understanding with NPCIL to build the two new reactors at the Kakrapara Atomic Power Station. The cost of the project is currently estimated at $12 billion. The Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) would be the 3rd and 4th reactors at Kakrapara. Units 1 and 2, both 220 Mw reactors, went online in 1993 and 1995 respectively.
Unreported in the Business Standard report was any mention of the long-standing, large-scale public protests involving thousands of arrests and mass jailings of opponents that have confronted the project since its inception.
“We have decided to pull out of the [joint venture] with NPCIL following a change in technology of the project. Initially, it was decided to build the plant with indigenous technology. But later, it was decided to use foreign technology. The foreign technology will not only be more expensive, the gestation period of the project will also be more and we are [not] in a mood to wait that long with so much of investment exposure,” Nalco Chairman and Managing Director Tapan Kumar Chand told the press.
—Business Standard, May 30, 2016