US trade mission targets Indian market

25 November 2008

Following the signing of the US-India nuclear trade agreement, a trade mission of US commercial nuclear industry executives will visit India next month touting for business. A delegation of Japanese nuclear industry officials is currently in India.

The mission has been organized by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) in partnership with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and has the backing of the US Department of Commerce.

A delegation of over 50 senior executives representing more than 30 commercial nuclear companies will visit New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai between 2 and 9 December. The USIBC-NEI delegation will meet with senior Indian government officials, leaders of India's top public-sector undertakings, and executives from Indian companies.

"We are coming to India to learn how US commercial nuclear suppliers can continue our partnership with India in the expansion of nuclear power," said Ted Jones, director of USIBC. He added, "We want to partner with India both here and around the world."

The trade mission builds on the momentum created by approval of the 123 Agreement, which followed authorization by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The US and Indian governments signed the agreement on 10 October, creating the framework to enable US companies to provide nuclear technology and fuel to India.

The USIBC has projected a $150 billion business for civilian nuclear technologies in India's growing nuclear power sector over the next 30 years because of the US-India civil nuclear deal.

Jack Fuller, CEO of GE-Hitachi (GEH) and the official mission leader, said, "The trade mission is a historic step forward in promoting civilian nuclear cooperation between the world's largest democracies." He added, "This is the beginning of a new chapter, with important steps ahead. We look forward to exploring opportunities that hold great promise, not only for our company and shareholders, but also economic opportunities that will create jobs, increase energy availability and improve the lives of the people of our two great nations."

GEH said that it is eager to explore new business opportunities for civilian nuclear power in India, including new reactors and plant services, as well as providing fuel for existing and new nuclear power plants. The company said that it is working with Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) "to identify a specific site for its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) technology. Depending on site conditions, GEH could potentially deploy six to eight ABWRs for a total of 10,000 MWe."

Meena Mutyala, Westinghouse's Vice President and Business Leader, India Strategy, who will also be part of the delegation, said: "Our intent is to use in-country resources in the deployment of AP1000s in India, and to qualify suppliers in India to assist Westinghouse in the construction of AP1000s elsewhere in the world." She added, "Toward that end, we will develop long-term relationships and partnerships with industrial companies, design firms, and academic institutions."

USEC, whose Vijay Sazawal will represent the company on the mission, said that its American Centrifuge uranium enrichment technology "will be well suited to meet increased demand from growing markets such as India."

Others interested

Meanwhile, a delegation of senior engineers from Japanese nuclear power reactor vendors is currently visiting India. Representatives from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Toshiba and Hitachi began a week-long visit on 23 November to meet top Indian nuclear officials, Takuya Hattori, delegation head and president of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) told Bloomberg.

Last week, Nuclear.Ru reported that Sergei Kiriyenko, director general of Russian state corporation Rosatom, visited the construction site of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu state, India. Russia is currently constructing two VVER-1000 reactors at the site and a further four units are planned there. During his trip, Kiriyenko had planned to meet Anil Kakodkar, head of India's Atomic Energy Commission, to discuss various issues of bilateral nuclear cooperation.