India Still Negotiating U.S. Nuclear Reactors Deal

India Still Negotiating U.S. Nuclear Reactors Deal

India continues to hold technical and commercial discussions with Westinghouse for arriving at a project proposal for nuclear reactors in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, said on Wednesday in response to a question in Parliament.

India and Westinghouse have been negotiating the U.S. supply of nuclear reactors for more than a decade, and earlier this year, India and the United States committed to building six nuclear power plants in India as part of strengthening their civil nuclear cooperation and security.

Over the past decade, talks have been stalled by the Indian legislation on liability in case of accidents, which differs from international norms under which liability is for the operator of a nuclear plant rather than the facility’s builder.

 
Westinghouse filing for bankruptcy protection in 2017 also stalled discussions.  

In a question today, India’s minister Singh was asked if India had finalized project proposals with Westinghouse and if the government had assessed potential time and cost overruns due to the fact that Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners in 2018.

“The various issues emerging out of the acquisition of WEC have been factored in the discussions,” Singh replied, adding that “presently techno-commercial discussions to arrive at a project proposal for setting up nuclear power reactors in cooperation with M/s. Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) are still in progress.”

Before Westinghouse was bought by Brookfield Business Partners in August 2018, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in April last year that Westinghouse was now “lean and mean and ready to get to work” on the Indian nuclear power plant projects.

Before visiting India last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:

“On energy, we want to complete the Westinghouse civil nuclear project, and deliver more LNG and crude. These steps will give Indians reliable, affordable, diversified energy independence so they will no longer have to rely on difficult regimes like those in Venezuela and in Iran.”

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