French firm EDF looks to set up 'centre of excellence' in civil nuclear space in Maharashtra

France-based EDF Group on Monday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with I2EN and city-based educational institute VJTI to conduct a pre-feasibility study for the establishment of a centre of excellence in the civil nuclear sector in Maharashtra.

The I2EN is an umbrella organisation that brings together French stakeholders involved in nuclear education and training.

EDF, which is engaged in the development and construction of the biggest nuclear plant in the world, with six EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) reactors totalling close to 10,000 MW at Jaitapur, along with state-run NPCIL, is aiming to develop a large pool of diversified skills in India to support the project, the company said in a statement.

"Through this initiative, EDF, I2EN and VJTI intend to contribute to consolidating the Indo-French bilateral cooperation in the field of civil nuclear at the institutional, industrial and academia level, enhancing best industrial practices, highest standards in safety and advanced training approaches," it said.

The centre of excellence will target the development of all the skills necessary for the implementation of the Jaitapur project at the stages of design, procurement, construction, commissioning and operational activities.

"Inviting and involving the most knowledgeable academics, scientists and industrial experts, the centre will train engineers and technicians from Indian companies and suppliers which will be participating in the development of this EPR project in India," the company said.

Commenting on the tie-up, VJTI Director Dhiren Patel said, "This centre will provide a networked platform for the specific skills as required in relation to EPR technology."

The Jaitapur project is expected to create nearly 25,000 direct employment opportunities during the construction phase of two EPR units.

I2EN will contribute to collaborate with VJTI and other Indian nuclear stakeholders, its Director Henri Safa said.

"We are convinced that this centre of excellence will foster the growth and consolidation of the specific set of skills needed for the EPR technology development in India while contributing to the employability of Indian technicians and engineers in the near future," EDF Group Senior Vice President in Charge of New Nuclear Development Vakis Ramany said.

Source : Business Standard

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