The Indian government has announced that it plans to purchase six European Pressurised Reactors for Jaitapur from the French company, Areva. No EPR is in commercial operation anywhere else in the world. Estimates of costs from plants under construction in Finland and France suggest that each unit may cost as much as Rs 60,000 crore; at this price, six units will cost Rs 3.6 lakh crore. The paper shows that the expected starting tariff for electricity from these reactors, without including transmission and distribution costs, is likely to be around Rs 15 per unit (kWh).

Indian policy-makers continue to vouch for nuclear energy after the Fukushima tragedy.Officials from the nuclear establishment claim that India’s nuclear reactors are safe from catastrophic accidents because they have “defence-in-depth”—multiple protective systems all of which have to fail before a radioactive release occurs.

The draft nuclear liability bill indemnifies the supplier of a nuclear plant and caps the liability of the operator in the event of an accident. The indemnity for suppliers is meant to please multinational plant vendors who wish to be free of liability even for accidents that result from a design flaw.