Washington, Mar 14: US-India on Wednesday agreed to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation, including building 6 U.S. nuclear power plants in India, the two countries said in a joint statement. The agreement came after two days of discussion in Washington.
The United States has been looking to sell more energy products to India, the world's third-biggest buyer of oil. The talks involved Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. It gave no further details of the nuclear plant project.
The two countries have been discussing the supply of US nuclear reactors to energy-hungry India for more than a decade, but a deep-rooted interference has been the need to bring Indian liability rules in-line with international norms, which require the costs of any accident to be channeled to the operator rather than the maker of a nuclear power station.
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse has been negotiating to build reactors in India for years, but progress has been slow, slightly because of India's nuclear liability legislation, and the project was thrown into doubt when Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after cost overwhelms on U.S. reactors.
The agreement to build the reactors, announced in 2016, followed on from a US-India civil nuclear agreement signed in 2008. India plans to triple its nuclear capacity by 2024 to wean Asia's third-largest economy off polluting fossil fuels.
Last October, India and Russia signed a pact to build six more nuclear reactors at a new site in India following summit talks between their leaders in New Delhi.