India’s Nuclear Power Corporation is a sleepy public utility that runs 17 atomic plants not very efficiently. Last year, it made headlines for the wrong reasons, when an act of apparent sabotage at one plant put the whole country on high alert. Prime minister Manmohan Singh also frequently laments that Asia’s third largest economy only produces just 3 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power.
Areva, France’s state-owned nuclear power company, wants to change all that. Amid a $9bn deal with NPCIL, it has big ambitions for the Indian giant, possibly bigger than the company has for itself. It’s offering NPCIL investment opportunities in its global mining operations, which span more than half a dozen countries from Niger to Kazakhstan.