Three big changes that will give boost to India’s nuclear programme

NEW DELHI: India’s nuclear programme is set to get a huge boost thanks to three big changes. First, Japan has asked India for a dedicated nuclear reactor site, signaling that not only is it willing to shed all inhibitions of doing nuclear commerce with India but is also keen to be counted with the US, France and Russia as a power building nuclear parks here.

Second, India is giving big contracts for six reactors each to US blue-chip companies GE and Westinghouse. This is a big shift from India’s long-standing policy of signing deals for two reactors at one go. The six-reactor deal with the two American companies will mean cheaper pricing for India.

Third, a critical component of the nuclear industry, the insurance structure, will be activated next month when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) buys a nuclear insurance policy at Rs 100-crore premium from a consortium that includes General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and a group called Nuclear Risk Insurers from Britain.

The Japanese willingness to set up a nuclear park in India is a major foreign policy advance. This is because Japan is the only country that has faced a nuclear attack and is still willing to invest in India, which despite the Indo-US nuclear deal is still a nuclear weapon state outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Meetings are slotted over the next few months to close Indo-Japan nuclear negotiations.

 

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