In some sections of the press, AM Naik, chairman, L&T, has been quoted as saying that the company is planning to build 3,000MW-4,000 MW nuclear plants every year. The projection seems to be too big. Considering an average price of Rs 8 crore for each MW, a 3,000MW nuclear plant will cost Rs 24,000 crore and a 4,000MW one will cost Rs 32,000 crore. In fact, power industry equipment (without power transmission) contributes less than Rs500 crore to L&T’s annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore. D Morada, head, corporate communications, L&T, clarifies that “the company has entered into joint ventures with Mitsubishi, Japan for supercritical boilers and steam turbines for thermal power plants.” He further confirms that these JVs (4000 MW/year) will generate revenue from next financial year 2010-11. For this, the company has installed capacity of 3,000MW-4,000MW at its Hazira complex.
A nuclear plant usually takes around eight years to build. The gestation period is comparatively long as compared to thermal power plants. Morada says that revenues from the power industry will “leapfrog from 2010-11.”
The company has also said that they have developed plasma reactors. However, plasma reactors are still at the experimental stage. Till now there has been hardly any sustainable success in these types of reactors. The largest research project is being carried out at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France at the cost of $12 billion. India is also one of the participants in this project among seven other countries developing thermonuclear reactors. India has earlier done one experimental plasma reactor, Tokomak—code-named named ‘Aditya’.
Morada adds, “Plasma reactors are still the subject of research. L&T has contributed to the Tokomak plasma reactor in India.” He further says that L&T is likely to get a “one-time opportunity in ITER which will go beyond 2025.”