US to build six nuclear power plants in India

Washington: Six new US nuclear power plants will be built in India as the United States and India on Wednesday agreed to extend security and civil nuclear partnership, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries.

The deal came after two days of talks in Washington. The US has been looking to sell more energy products to India.

The talks took place between Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US under-secretary of state for arms control and international security.

“They committed to strengthening bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India,” the joint statement said without giving further details of the nuclear plant project.

Indian liability legislation was a long-standing obstacle

The two countries have been discussing the supply of US nuclear reactors to energy-hungry India, the world’s third-biggest buyer of oil, for over a decade. But a long-standing hurdle has been the need to bring Indian liability legislation in-line with global criteria, which requires the costs of any accident to be channelled to the operator rather than the maker of a nuclear power station.

Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse has been negotiating to build reactors in India for years, but progress has been slow, partly because of India’s nuclear liability rules, and the project was thrown into doubt when Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after cost overruns on US reactors.