India close to signing commercial pact with Areva: R K Sinha

New Delhi: India may sign a commercial pact with French power major Areva for building two nuclear power reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra during the visit of French President Francois Hollande here next month.

"We have set our objective that before the French President's visit we should come to a good converging situation. I hope we are close to that," Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Ratan Kumar Sinha said when asked about talks with Areva.

He said the deal with Areva was one of the drivers for quick action in the relations with France.

"There have been plenty of discussions already, mainly on the techno-commercial offer and there seems to be reasonable hope of convergence," Sinha said.

He said lot of attempts have also been made by the French side and meetings have already taken place between the top officials of the nuclear establishments of both the countries.

India's nuclear operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Areva plan to build two European pressurised reactors (EPR) of 1,650 MWe each at Jaitapur in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district.

In December 2010, Areva signed an agreement with India to build the country's first two reactors of the new-generation EPR type at Jaitapur with an option for four more reactors.

But following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, many projects around the world were frozen, delayed or abandoned. The negotiations with Areva also slowed down.

After the Fukushima incident, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) had carried out a review of the safety aspects of the reactors Areva plans to supply to India.

The ASN shared its report on the EPR reactors with the Atomic Energy Commission last year. The negotiations with Areva had begun after the perusal of the report by India's nuclear regulator.