In a significant development, India and United States have agreed in principle to officially start engineering and site design work for the establishment of six AP1000 nuclear power plant reactors in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Even though the deal was signed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and US firm Westinghouse, both sides will complete all the formalities related to contractual arrangements only by June 2017, as per a statement released by the White House.
The one-year deadline is created to enable both sides to establish deals with the concerned stakeholders including Parliament; companies supplying spares including the local population nearby the plant location.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on a five-nation tour and US President Barack Obama welcomed the beginning of the work and termed it as a next big step towards the future. During the interaction between two leaders, the two leaders pledged to chalk out new terms for limit a potent greenhouse gas used as a refrigerant in air conditioners.
The deal assumes significance since India is short of power supply during the peak period of summer and establishment of nuclear reactors will go a long way to fulfilling the objective of clean power.
Moreover, since the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has agreed to renegotiate the Paris climate accord, the US put pressure on India to sign the deal before the end of Obama’s tenure.
With rapid climatic changes, India can’t solely depend upon hydel power stations since they depend upon rains to fill their reservoirs.
Commenting on the deal, a White House spokesperson revealed that the two leaders also talked about the need for partnership between India and the US Export-Import Bank to chalk out a comprehensive financing package to complete the project within the next 10 years.
We expect that the project will take a long time to complete and once it is commissioned, it will fulfill the promise of the US-India civil nuclear agreement. Moreover, the project will serve as the benchmark for other countries since the joint effort by India and US will meet India’s growing energy needs.
Ever since Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014, he was keen to implement projects which reduce waste and the proposed nuclear plant will most likely reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Moreover, the plant will also reduce the amount of waste and pollution generated by fuels.
Responding to media, Brian Deese, Senior Advisor to the US President disclosed that the new reactors would supply clean and safe energy to India including generation of thousands of jobs in both countries.
In India, the establishment of nuclear power plants is not an easy due to widespread opposition from various quarters. In the past, we saw how activists attempted to halt the operations of the Kudankulam power plant near Tamil Nadu.