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Westinghouse hopeful of signing nuclear plant deal during PM NarendraModi's Washington visit in June
Almost eight years since the Indo-US civil nuclear deal was signed, a US company Westinghouse may finally sign a deal to enter India's commercial nuclear sector during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed visit to Washington in June.
A big ticket item in Modi's visit could be conclusion of a pact that is being negotiated for years by nuclear major Westinghouse and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) for building six reactors in Gujarat, people familiar with the development said. The two sides plan to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the plant in later part of the year after the conclusion of the commercial pact, said official sources who did not wish to be identified.
The pact was earlier scheduled to be signed during Modi's Washington visit early this month, but it was postponed as the prime minister and US President Barack Obama did not hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. According to sources, Westinghouse has submitted all technical details sought by NPCIL, which is in the process of making the contract.
Westinghouse has been described as a "competitive energy source provider" by India as the two sides are focusing on narrowing down differences over Nuclear Liability Law. India has sought to assuage suppliers' concerns, including by setting up an insurance pool with a liability cap of $226.16 million.
India's MoU with Japan last December for civil nuclear partnership has been a shot in the arm for Westinghouse, a unit of Japanese major Toshiba Corporation. The site Mithi Virdi in Gujarat was allotted to Westinghouse by the UPA government.
Westinghouse and NPCIL have negotiated to build all six reactors in one go, instead of an earlier plan to strike deals for two at a time. In fact, this is the formula that Delhi is working with France and Russia as well. Westinghouse concluded pre-early works agreement with the NPCIL in 2013 for construction of two reactors at the proposed nuclear power plant.
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