Areva is preparing for the construction of new nuclear power plants in India after signing an agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

The general framework agreement is for the construction of two EPR reactors in Maharashtra state, and for the supply of fuel for 25 years. Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva, said that it was an “historic agreement” that would give Areva a strategic position “in one of the world’s most dynamic markets”.

The agreement was signed by Lauvergeon and Dr S.K. Jain, chairman and managing director of NPCIL, during a visit to India by French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The two EPR reactors will be built at Jaitapur and will be the first in a series of six at the site. The agreement sets out the contractual conditions, an industrial scheme for the project and the breakdown of responsibilities.

Studies enabling the site excavation, the approval process with the Indian nuclear safety authority, and the detailed technical configuration of the Jaitapur EPR, will start in early 2011.