In a bid to make India a global player in nuclear power sector, the Modi government is contemplating to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the nuclear power area. The decision, likely to be considered by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), would be a paradigm shift in India’s nuclear power policy, and subsequently open the gates for multinational companies to invest in the country’s nuclear energy projects. After deliberations with the PMO, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has sought legal opinion from the Union Law Ministry on whether foreign investment can be allowed in the nuclear power sector, if the FDI policy is amended. DAE’s view is clear on private equity in nuclear power sector.
Sources said that several foreign companies, including Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) and GE-Hitachi of the US, Electricite de France (EDF) of France and Rosatom of Russia have expressed keen interest in participating in India’s nuclear power projects. As per government sources, these MNCs are interested to invest in various areas such as technology, supplies or as contractors and service providers. However, these foreign companies can’t yet invest in the country’s increasing number of nuclear power projects, as the FDI policy does not permit them to do so.
In India, nuclear power is the fifth largest source of electricity after coal, gas, hydro-electricity and wind power. Till last year, India had 22 nuclear reactors installed in seven nuclear power plants spread across the country. The nuclear power plants have total installed capacity of 6780 MW. Sources said that if FDI is allowed in the nuclear power sector, it would witness a very large scale expansion.