US to build six nuclear power plants in India

2019-03-15 09:13

The United States and India have agreed to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation, including building six US nuclear power plants in India, according to a joint statement.

The agreement came on Wednesday after two days of talks in Washington between Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

"They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India," the joint statement said.

It gave no further details of the nuclear plant project.

The two countries have been discussing the supply of US nuclear reactors to India, the world's third-biggest buyer of oil, for more than a decade.

But a longstanding obstacle has been the need to bring Indian liability rules in line with international norms, which require the costs of any accident to be channelled to the operator rather than the maker of a nuclear power station.

Stalled work

Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse has been negotiating to build reactors in India for years.

The project was thrown into doubt when Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after cost overruns on US reactors.

Canada's Brookfield Asset Management bought Westinghouse from Toshiba in August 2018.

Last April, Westinghouse received strong support from US Energy Secretary Rick Perry for its India project, which envisaged the building of six AP1000 reactors in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The agreement to build the reactors, announced in 2016, followed on from a US-India civil nuclear agreement signed in 2008.

India plans to triple its nuclear capacity by 2024 to wean Asia's third-largest economy off polluting fossil fuels.

Last October, India and Russia signed a pact to build six more nuclear reactors at a new site in India following summit talks between their leaders in New Delhi.

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