India Takes Three Steps to Implement Nuclear Deal: US

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India has taken three steps to implement the historic civil nuclear deal with the US to enhance the confidence of the domestic and foreign companies in the country’s nuclear industry, a top American diplomat said.

The India-US nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in 2008, under which US-based Westinghouse and GE Hitachi were to build six power reactors each in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

Addressing a Congressional subcommittee during a hearing on South Asia on Thursday, acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells said India has taken three actions to implement the deal and Westinghouse found these steps “sufficient”.

The first step taken by them is that they joined the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. This multilateral treaty lays out a framework for liability, and the second step was the announcement of guidance on its domestic nuclear legislation which was in conformance with the law, Wells said.

The third step India did was to set up a domestic insurance pool and for operators and vendors for liability for nuclear accidents, Wells said.

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“Those three steps are designed to increase confidence in the domestic and foreign companies in the nuclear industry,” she said in response to a question from Congressman Brad Sherman who asked if India plans to change its liability laws to put American nuclear power plants builders on the same liability footing as those entities that have sovereign immunity, such as those from China, France, and Russia.

“All I can say is that Westinghouse found them so sufficient,” she said, noting that $10 billion in US content and export content in the nuclear deal can generate 15,000 jobs.

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