United States President Donald Trump will be discussing important strategic issues with “true friend” Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The bilateral talk apparently will include Indo-US civil nuclear deal. But reports suggest it is “unlikely” for the two countries to ink an agreement between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.
State run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) are not keen on signing the agreement with the American nuclear giant, due to a financial disorder in Westinghouse. Another reason is the need for the foreign company to demonstrate a functional nuclear plant. This is a mandatory requirement to get permission from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). Currently there is an absence of an operative reference atomic plant.
It may be recalled that towards the end of March this year, nuclear giant Westinghouse Electric, a US firm, owned by Japanese Toshiba has filed for bankruptcy with $9.8 billion in liabilities. The firm was supposed to set up six nuclear reactors for Kovvada nuclear power project in Ranasthalam mandal of Srikakulam district in partnership with the NPCIL.
In 2008, a historic nuclear cooperation deal was signed between India and the U.S. Trump and Modi are likely to discuss the progress on this deal. However only two years ago the democracies decided to finalise contractual arrangements by June 2017.