As we said yesterday, the scramble is now on to grab a slice of the £14 billion the Indian government has to spend nuclear technology. Since the Nuclear Suppliers Group gave its blessing at the weekend to India having nuclear power outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, four companies have declared their intentions to compete. Here, Nuclear Reaction takes a look at the runners in this most lucrative of races…
Where to start with the spectacularly incompetent nuclear behemoth, Areva? This French conglomerate is currently overseeing the unbelievably troubled construction of the alleged ‘state of the art’ EPR reactors at Flamanville, France and Olkiluoto, Finland. Both projects are beset with massive cost and schedule overruns as well as extremely concerning safety and construction defects.
2. General Electric
The American multinational has a long record in the energy industry. A long record of failure, that is. In 2002, the company was ranked the fourth largest air polluter in the US. Freedom of Information requests in the US have revealed that General Electric reactors around the world have a design fault that makes it 90 per cent likely that in the event of a meltdown, radioactive material will be released into the environment.
Rosatom also has an enriched history in the nuclear history. Despite denials in public, leaked documents suggest that Rosatom is fearful of a nuclear explosion as waste storage tanks continue to decay at the massive nuclear waste dump on Russia’s Kola peninsula. Despite the dangers, Rosatom’s plans for a new reactor on the peninsula are well under way.
4. Westinghouse Electric Co
Half of the reactors in the world use Westinghouse technology. They are the designers of the AP1000 reactor which the Indian government is hoping to buy. However, serious flaws in the reactor’s design are currently delaying its approval and have prompted legal action in the US. The much-troubled EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are also based on a Westinghouse design.
So there we have it, a little glimpse of what India can look forward to should any of these four win the country’s nuclear contracts. In fact, reports suggest that with so much money to go around, they’re all going to be winners. This is one race, however, we wish they could all lose. And what of the Indian people? Are they going to be winners or losers?