THE US and India on yesterday (13) agreed to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation, including building six US nuclear power plants in India, the two countries said in a joint statement.
The agreement came after two days of talks in Washington. The US under president Donald Trump 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.
“They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India,” the joint statement said.
It gave no further details of the nuclear plant project.
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse has been negotiating to build reactors in India for years, but progress has been slow, partly because of India’s nuclear liability legislation, and the project was thrown into doubt when Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after cost overruns on the US reactors.
Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management bought Westinghouse from Toshiba in August 2018. Last April Westinghouse received strong support from the US energy secretary Rick Perry for its India project, which envisaged the building of six AP1000 reactors in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
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.