Sites for US nuclear in India

17 July 2009

The Indian government has picked sites in Andra Pradesh and Gujurat for US reactors, while official cooperation with France will begin soon.


Two greenfield locations have been selected, with GE Hitachi and Westinghouse in the frame to provide a number of their ABWR or AP1000 reactors on each. Andra Pradesh is home to high-tech and knowledge-based industries including India's space program, while Gujurat is an industrial hub. More details on the sites should come during US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to India next week. 


The development mirrors that occurring with France, with Areva already bidding to building EPRs at the Jaitapur site in Maharastra. However, no contracts can be signed off for these until France and India have completed a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement. Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh reported today that "President Nicolas Sarkozy was categorical in asserting that France is ready for full civilian nuclear cooperation in India."


Sarkozy-Singh 14 July 2009 (Elyseé - L Blevennec)
Nicolas Sarkozy and Manmohan Singh on Bastille Day, 14 July.
Carla Bruni (left) is not known to hold strong beliefs on the risks
and benefits of nuclear energy (Image: Elysée - L Blevennec)
Indian planners would like to see several of the Western units at each of the sites, but of course funding a build program of that scale would be challenging. Nevertheless, this is the latest step after the ending of a nuclear trade embargo against India which held for 30 years as an indirect result of its refusal of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. Under US leadership a legislative fix was brought in last year, which has allowed this kind of dealing in reactors as well as the uranium supplies India badly needed. Later, the country could export its own nuclear technology and services in turn.


Russia also is involved in India, having begun work on two VVER-1000s at Kudankulam under a specific trade agreement. Two more are expected and the agreement on those is now slated for the end of the year.