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India's nuclear utility gets new executive leadership

India's nuclear utility gets new executive leadership

After a couple of extensions, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) Chairman Dr. S.K. Jain retired last month.  He was also chairman of sister company, Bhavini, which runs India’s fast breeder reactor program. NPCIL has 2o reactors functioning and is India’s only nuclear utility. Bhavini runs a small fast breeder reactor and completing a 540 MW version shortly. Both companies are 110% percent owned by the Government of India via its Department of Atomic Energy.

Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, a graduate of IIT Delhi, and a longtime executive board member of NPCIL has been appointed Acting Chairman and Managing Director of NPCIL. Bhardwaj has been associated with nuclear fuel, design and engineering activities, reactor core design. For the first time, Bhavini has a different Chairman and Managing Director. Also in an acting role, is Prabhat Kumar, until recently Director (Construction) and Project Director(Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor).

What this means

This transition was a long time coming since Dr Jain was due to retire a few years ago. The fact the two new appointees have been designated “Acting” could mean a number of different things about the Government’s intent. The separtions of roles between NPCIL and Bhavini is not a surprise since Bhavini is about to expand its capacity by ten fold with the new reactor coming online soon. NPCIL also has more on its plate than  at any time in its history with the expansion of the India heavy water fleed, the Russian VVERs coming on line in Tamil Nadu and the new western light water technologies from Areva and others to come into play shortly.

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