Unperturbed by protests against its proposed nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, the French civil nuclear energy major Areva is now in the closing stages of striking an “early works agreement” with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited.

This agreement, which is actually a series of studies to ensure that the reactor is in conformity with local conditions, is likely to take nine months. “Areva’s discussions with NPCIL are on. We hope to achieve closure as soon as possible. We are eager to start [on the studies] so as to fully define the project,” said diplomatic sources.