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US and India commit to building six nuclear power plants

Reuters
The agreement to build six US power plants in India came after two days of talks in Washington between Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Andrea Thompson.

Washington: The United States and India on Wednesday agreed to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation, including building six US nuclear power plants in India, the two countries said in a joint statement.

The agreement came after two days of talks in Washington. The United States under President Donald Trump has been looking to sell more energy products to India -- the world’s third-biggest buyer of oil.

The talks involved 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 energy-hungry India 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.

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 legislation, and 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.