USA and India reiterate support for new build

01 September 2016

Plans to construct six Westinghouse AP1000s in India have been bolstered by a joint statement issued after a bilateral strategic dialogue yesterday. The two sides also pledged to work towards India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Delegates gather in New Dehli for the second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (Image: US Government)

The second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, held in New Delhi, was co-chaired by India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman with US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

In the joint statement, the parties noted progress made in bilateral civil nuclear cooperation and "applauded" continued engagement between Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) towards finalizing contractual arrangements for the construction of the units. They also "looked forward" to the "immediate commencement of work on engineering and site design and the early conclusion of a competitive financing package based on the joint work by India and the US Export-Import Bank."

A site at Kovvada, in Andra Pradesh, had previously been earmarked for the development of six GE Hitachi ESBWR units. This was changed to Westinghouse AP1000s earlier this year.

The two sides also committed to "redouble" their efforts towards India's early entry into the NSG, in a bid to strengthen global non-proliferation and export controls. The USA urged participating governments to support India's candidacy to the NSG "in their common interest".

India formally applied to become a member of the NSG - which seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that could potentially be used to manufacture nuclear weapons - in May. Unlike India, all of the NSG's members are also signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). However, the approval of an India-specific safeguards agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency, an exception under NSG rules and a round of bilateral nuclear cooperation deals, led by the 2008 US-India nuclear cooperation agreement, have enabled India to play an increasing part in the international nuclear marketplace.

In June, the NSG said it had decided to continue discussions on the technical, legal and political aspects of the participation of non-NPT states in the group.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News