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Uncertainty over U.S. nuclear plants for India

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There is uncertainty surrounding the construction of US nuclear reactors in India after Toshiba Corp decided to move out of the reactor building business. Officials said they are expecting some clarity in a month after Toshiba’s board meeting.

“We have not had anything on it officially. But what we read is that there will be completing the reactors that are under construction in the US and others which are India and UK India they are thinking but have not taken a decision. We expect a decision after their board meeting soon. Our discussion is going on. We don’t have a clear answer to this today, may be in a month,” Dr. Sekhar Basu, Secretary Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said on Tuesday.

Following the Indo-US nuclear deal, India has been in discussion with Toshiba’s US based Westinghouse since 2005 to build six AP1000 nuclear reactors. After protracted negotiations and concerns on the nuclear liability there were hopes that a deal would be concluded soon.

Last week it was reported that Toshiba was planning to withdraw from building nuclear plants in the UK and India. Toshiba had acquired the US based Westinghouse, which specialises in nuclear reactors, in 2006.

Other officials said that the technical discussions were going on as usual and the last one was held end of January. Their offer on the six proposed reactors was very good, they stated and expressed confidence that the deal would continue.

“Normally such big companies don’t shut down. We are hearing that someone will bankroll them either the Japanese government or the Japanese Development Bank,” one official observed.

Underscoring the importance of the nuclear deal, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, the two sides in the joint statement welcomed the start of “preparatory work on site in India for six AP 1000 reactors to be built by Westinghouse” which once completed the statement had noted would “fulfil the promise of the India-US civil nuclear agreement.”

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and Westinghouse had also agreed to “work toward finalising the contractual arrangements by June 2017.”

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 1:18:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Uncertainty-over-U.S.-nuclear-plants-for-India/article17245799.ece

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