Thermax working with NPCIL on N-power biz

Hindu Business Line | March 12, 2010

‘Our strength is in high quality manufacturing units, besides heat and mass transfer and project management capabilities.' The Pune-based Thermax and Nuclear Power Corporation of India are working on new packages such as balance of plant (BOP) and allied work relating to secondary portion of nuclear power plants.

“We are working with NPCIL for the new packages that are coming up. NPCIL wants Indian companies to pre-qualify and participate in the construction and we are one of the companies identified. We will also be one of the BOP suppliers in that area. We are not into the main nuclear business [reactor],” Mr M.S. Unnikrishnan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Thermax, told Business Line.

The tenders for the packages are likely to be floated by NPCIL in the next three to four months.

Thermax is also looking to get into the nuclear components manufacturing business.

Certification needed

“We need the ASME ‘N' stamp (American Society of Mechanical Engineers nuclear certification)” he said.

Mr Unnikrishnan conceded that it would take time for Thermax to create facilities as well as upgrade existing facilities to the standards required, for making nuclear components, manufacture and get them approved.

The company aims to align its core strength in heat and mass transfer that comes in the secondary unit of nuclear plants, the first being the reactor.

“Our strength is in high quality manufacturing units, besides heat and mass transfer and project management capabilities,” he said.

Thermax aims to partner global majors which bag the contracts in India.

It finds itself well-equipped and positioned to take up the localisation portion the overseas players would offer in the sub-continent.

Cost and revenues

Referring to plant cost and revenues available for the secondary portion, Mr Unnikrishnan said in the US, the cost for one mega watt was in the range of $3-4 million and American companies were trying to do it at $2.5 million in India. The reactor portion accounts for half the cost and the conventional portion the balance.

Ruling out the possibilities of Thermax getting into forging, casting and machining, Mr Unnikrishnan said the company preferred to stick to high-quality fabrication under the ASME stamp.

Global alliances

On areas that Thermax was looking for global alliances to shore up its capabilities for nuclear power business, he said for component manufacturing it was imperative to associate with global majors in the field as “one cannot learn, but only practise what is being followed”.

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