AMEC signs nuclear deal with HCC

BANGALORE, INDIA - Hindustan Construction Company Limited, India's premier civil and industrial infrastructure construction major, and AMEC plc have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services in India's nuclear power sector.

AMEC will bring its extensive experience in full nuclear power plant lifecycles to the partnership, while HCC is expected to work as a project implementer.

Globally, AMEC has executed several projects in the nuclear power sector, including construction and installation of power plants, providing operational and maintenance assistance to power developers, as well as waste management and the decommissioning of nuclear reactors. HCC is a pioneer in the area of large-scale construction projects in India. The joint venture will employ about 500 people.

Several Indian companies are taking the joint venture route to strengthen their nuclear power expertise. In December last year, Punj Lloyd Limited and Lightbridge Corporation, formerly Thorium Power Limited, signed an agreement to form a 50:50 joint venture for the development and construction of thorium-based light water reactors (LWR).

The company also will provide manpower training and consulting services in the area of fuel reprocessing, as well as operations and maintenance of thorium-based reactors.

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Incorporated signed an agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to provide technology expertise for the AP-1000 range of advanced boiling water reactors (ABWR). Larsen & Toubro Limited and GE-Hitachi also will work to develop and build boiling water reactors and ABWRs.

In October last year, the Nuclear Suppliers Group lifted the 34-year nuclear trade embargo on India. This move has helped India to actively focus on developing its nuclear power capability. Subsequently, India embarked on a three-pronged nuclear power development program. This includes construction of 28 new reactors, which will achieve the target of 40,000 MW of additional power generating capacity by 2020.

Industry experts have observed that the program has opened doors for several national and international power equipment and technology companies.

India has signed nuclear fuel and technology supply deals with the United States, Russia and France. General Electric Company, Areva SA, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and OAO Atomenergoprom have signed agreements with Indian power equipment companies to build nuclear reactors.

The HCC-AMEC partnership also will provide advisory services and undertake project management and consulting activities in the nuclear power sector. The venture is expected to benefit from HCC's strong construction experience and AMEC's technology expertise. The alliance expects to provide nuclear power developers with an independent technology platform, which will ensure greater reliability and flexibility with lower construction costs.

Industry experts have stated that tenders and contracts of up to $16.9 billion are expected to be awarded from the Indian nuclear sector by the year 2020. HCC-AMEC officials are confident of securing 30% to 50% of the market share in the nuclear EPC services sector in the next five years. India is expected to witness nuclear power investment of $31.78 billion, of which about $12.71 billion will be in the area of EPC services.

Presently, HCC's total order book value is about $3.18 billion, of which about $222.5 million is for projects in the nuclear power sector. Presently, HCC is developing two units of 1,000 MW each at the Kudankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu, and is executing units 5 and 6 of the Rajasthan atomic power station. Experts indicate that in the next 15 months, NPCIL is expected to award contracts for construction and commissioning of up to 10 LWRs and six pressurized heavy water reactors.

India's nuclear power development program is progressing at an accelerated pace. Recently, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh stated that the country's nuclear power generating capacity could reach 470,000 MW by 2050, if the three-phased program was managed well. India's nuclear energy program is expected to help the country address its growing power demand, reduce dependence on conventional fuel sources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


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