GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced it has signed a preliminary agreement with India’s Tata Consulting Engineers, Ltd. (TCE) to explore potential project design and workforce development opportunities in support of GEH’s future nuclear projects in India and around the world.

As GEH prepares for potential ESBWR projects in India and other countries planning to build new reactors, the agreement sets the stage for the companies to collaborate in areas such as workforce skills identification and development, as well as early feasibility design studies, product and project engineering work.

India’s government has identified two possible sites for a potential new station featuring multiple reactors based on GEH’s 1,520-megawatt (MW) ESBWR model. The sites are located in the western state of Gujarat and southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

India currently has 19 reactors that generate a combined 4,560 MWe but plans to expand its installed nuclear generating capacity to 20,000 MWe by 2020 and to 63,000 MW by 2032.

Mumbai-based TCE is a subsidiary of the Indian industrial conglomerate the Tata Group and is one of India’s leading engineering consulting firms with a wide range of international experience in a wide range of power plant, water, transportation, chemical, manufacturing and other infrastructure projects.

“As India prepares to build new reactor projects, TCE is doing its part by working with experienced nuclear industry companies like GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to help ensure that India has the necessary project resources in place to build and operate new nuclear reactors,” said R. Srinivasan, CEO and managing director of TCE.

The agreement helps create the foundation for leveraging India’s domestic engineering capabilities while supporting domestic employment opportunities. It also would enable GEH to increase the local content of its ESBWR product offering for its customer, state-owned utility Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Ltd. (NPCIL).

“We are excited at the prospect of working with TCE on our future ESBWR projects. TCE has the proven engineering and industrial expertise to support the broad infrastructure requirements of nuclear power plant projects,” said Danny Roderick, GEH’s senior vice president for nuclear plant projects.

General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), one of GEH’s parent companies, designed and helped build India’s first nuclear power plant in Tarapur during the 1960s and today, after more than 40 years, the GE BWR reactor at the Tarapur plant, now owned and operated by NPCIL, is among the most reliable operating reactors in India. In 2008, the U.S. and Indian governments signed an agreement to lift the ban on U.S. nuclear exports to India.

Since 2008, GEH has been building its local supplier network in India to complement the company’s global project supply chain while it explores opportunities for new reactor projects as well as providing fuel and other services to existing and new nuclear power plants.

In addition to TCE, GEH also has signed preliminary project development agreements with NPCIL, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro Limited.

GEH’s 1,520-MWe ESBWR design is Generation III+ technology that offers utilities the world’s most advanced passive safety features and a simplified building design, making the ESBWR safer and more cost-effective to build and operate than existing reactor models.

Nuclear energy is important in GEH’s long-standing ties with India. Today, GE’s global businesses participate in a wide range of manufacturing, services and technology sectors in India, as GE seeks to be a partner in the nation’s economic growth.

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