A deal towards nuclear component manufacture was the first positive result from the US trade delegation to India.
Westinghouse signed a memorandum of understanding with Larsen & Toubro that would likely see the Indian manufacturer produce component modules for Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor. L&T said the memorandum was towards "cooperation to effectively address the projected need in India for pressurized water reactors with modular construction."
The deal, "will enable L&T and Westinghouse to utilize indigenous capabilities for the turnkey construction of nuclear power plants including supply of reactor equipment and systems, valves, electrical & instrumentation products and fabrication of structural, piping and equipment modules for Westinghouse AP1000 plants."
A feature of the AP1000 design is that relatively large sections of it could be assembled at specialist factories and transported as one to site. One component factory already exists in China, while another is planned for America and a third expected in the UK.
L&T has played a large role in the construction of India's indigenous-design pressurized heavy water reactors. A link-up with US-based but Japanese-owned Westinghouse was made possible by the signing last year of a civilian nuclear cooperation deal between the USA and India.
The Westinghouse deal was signed off in Mumbai this morning, at the end of the official US trade delegation to India. The troop of businessmen was led by the Nuclear Energy Institute and consisted of about 40 top executives from 30 firms. The group was originally meant to visit India in November 2008, but this was cancelled after the Mumbai attacks to be reconvened with little publicity.
A trade delegation from the UK is due to visit India next week and visit Delhi and Mumbai, according to a UK Trade & Investment notice. Although prime minister Gordon Brown indicated in January last year he was ready to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with India, this has not yet happened, raising the possibility that it could occur during next week's mission.
The provisional program for the mission would see British firms meet with the Ministries of Power and External Affairs, the Department of Science & Technology, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Planning Commission, National Thermal Power Corporation, BHEL, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, Reliance and Tata Power. The delegation could be led by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who acts as a special representative for UK trade interests.