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Obama regime to lawmakers: India’s steps addressed key nuke concerns

WASHINGTON(PTI):The steps taken by the Indian government, including the insurance pool, have largely addressed the key concerns of the United States nuclear industry, the Obama Administration has told its lawmakers.

“We believe that the steps that India has taken have addressed by and large key concerns of the U.S. [nuclear] industry. It is now for the U.S. companies to make the commercial determinations,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal has told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

“We believe that the steps that India has taken have addressed by and large key concerns of the U.S. [nuclear] industry. It is now for the U.S. companies to make the commercial determinations,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

‘Different for each company’

“I believe that it is going to be different for each company. I believe there are companies that are moving aggressively forward on pursuing commercial deal and are quite close. And there are companies that perhaps have a different risk perception and are moving a little bit more cautiously in that space,” Ms. Biswal said in response to a question from Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Corker rued on lack of progress by India in issuing contracts to U.S. firms to initiate a civil nuclear cooperation agreement now nearly eight-years old.

Let firms decide on n-deal with India

Ms. Biswal said it was now for individual companies to make that determination on moving forward about commercial nuclear deal with India.

“We [Obama Administration] believes that the commitments are in place and have largely addressed the concerns that we have raised with them very consistently in the past decade,” she said.

According to Vijay Sazawal, International Atomic Energy Consulting, Westinghouse and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) are making good progress in reaching a final closure on the sale of AP-1000 reactors to India.

May be inked during Modi’s visit

The agreement in this regard could be signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington DC in early next month.

Westinghouse and NPCIL will need to work hard to close the gap between what is expected and what is achievable in cost figures, he has said.

Need to reassess conservatism

“NPCIL will need to reassess conservatism in its business model to share risks with suppliers on a comparable basis,” Mr. Sazawal said.

“By the same token, any foreign supplier counting on bringing political pressure on DAE / NPCIL to force a closure in its favour will learn the hard way that such an approach has not worked in the past and will not likely work in the future either,” he said in a recent article.2

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