The Indian parliament has passed an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act, which will allow Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, a public sector enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy, to form joint ventures with other public sector units. According to documents published on February 24 by India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha, the amendment has also received presidential assent. NPCIL should now be more easily able to secure financing for its major projects.
The amendment will enable NPCIL to form joint ventures with both central and state public sector units whilst ensuring the government retains control over such joint ventures. The amendment would also allow the government to issue license to such joint ventures to set up nuclear power plants, take measures for safe operation, and ensure safe disposal of nuclear material.
Till now, the Atomic Energy Act only allowed two government-owned PSUs – NPCIL and Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI), a PSU set up to develop fast breeder reactors – to build and operate nuclear power plants in India.