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The US to set up six more nuclear reactors in India, to boost India’s $150 billion programme

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In order to strengthen the bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, the US has agreed to set up six atomic power plants in India, at the end of 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue. The US expressed its support towards India’s early membership in the 48 member Nuclar Suppliers Group (NSG), though India’s pending membership has been blocked by China to the elite grouping which seeks to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons.

According to a joint statement issued at the end of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, the two countries agreed to power up the bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India. The Strategic Security Dialogue in Washington was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and the US under secretary for arms control and international security, Andrea Thompson.

Both the countries reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation and weapons of mass destruction along with their delivery systems, and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.

In October 2008, India and the US signed a historic agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy sector, which gave up a fillip to bilateral ties, which has shown an upward swing since. Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was under the deal, that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries. According to the sources, no money had exchanged hands, and techno-commercial negotiations of the deal were at an advanced stage.

The contract, when finalised and put into action, is expected to give a big boost to India’s $150-billion nuclear power programme. The US based Westinghouse had already been allotted a site in Gujarat to build a nuclear power station with total capacity of 2,500 MW and possibility of expansion in future.

Also, earlier two sites have been identified for GE plants in Andhra Pradesh with an initial capacity of 3,200 MW. India has also been in negotiations with US’ Exim Bank for loan of around $8-9 billion to part-fund building of the reactors.

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