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Obama & India link with GEH

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    Obama visit gives lift to U.S.-India deal on nuclear reactors

    By Jim Brumm
    [email protected]
    Published: Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

    Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2015 at 10:05 p.m.

    The pot of gold at the end of the nuclear renaissance rainbow is commerce worth billions of dollars promised by a nuclear deal the U.S. and India reached in 2006.
    For GE Hitachi, the promise is six economic simplified boiling water reactors at a site already set aside in Gujarat province, while a tract in Andhra Pradesh has been reserved for Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors.
    But like much of the nuclear renaissance, the U.S.- India relationship has gotten tied up in red tape – a law passed by India's parliament five years ago makes equipment suppliers ultimately responsible for an accident, a deviation from international norms.
    Last Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama unveiled a plan centered on insurance they hope will persuade U.S. companies to build nuclear power stations in India but stopped short of demands to soften the liability law. Details of the new plan were sketchy, but Indian and U.S. diplomats said the idea was to transfer the financial risk to insurers in case of an accident.
    The apparent U.S.-India breakthrough was in narrowing differences on the liability issue. U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma said, "It's up to the companies what to do" after India gave an assurance the liability law would be interpreted consistently with inter- national understanding.
    If anything substantive was agreed, "it's very unclear," said Paris-based energy and nuclear policy consultant Mycle Schneider. "I don't think there's enough information out there that makes it possible to make a coherent statement."
    This report includes material from the Associated Press.
    Metro desk: 343-2384

    Obama visit gives lift to U.S.-India deal on nuclear reactorsBy Jim Brumm

    StarNewsOnline.comJanuary 30, 2015 10:05 PM

    The pot of gold at the end of the nuclear renaissance rainbow is commerce worth billions of dollars promised by a nuclear deal the U.S. and India reached in 2006.

    For http://www.starnewsonline.com/section/topic50">GE Hitachi, the promise is six economic simplified boiling water reactors at a site already set aside in Gujarat province, while a tract in Andhra Pradesh has been reserved for Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors.

    But like much of the nuclear renaissance, the U.S.- India relationship has gotten tied up in red tape – a law passed by India's parliament five years ago makes equipment suppliers ultimately responsible for an accident, a deviation from international norms.

    Last Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama unveiled a plan centered on insurance they hope will persuade U.S. companies to build nuclear power stations in India but stopped short of demands to soften the liability law. Details of the new plan were sketchy, but Indian and U.S. diplomats said the idea was to transfer the financial risk to insurers in case of an accident.

    The apparent U.S.-India breakthrough was in narrowing differences on the liability issue. U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma said, "It's up to the companies what to do" after India gave an assurance the liability law would be interpreted consistently with inter- national understanding.

    If anything substantive was agreed, "it's very unclear," said Paris-based energy and nuclear policy consultant Mycle Schneider. "I don't think there's enough information out there that makes it possible to make a coherent statement."

    Indian and U.S. officials said part of the solution to the liability impasse could be a $122 billion insurance scheme proposed by India.

    That would be funded by India's government and Indian nuclear companies and be managed by the state-run General Insurance Corp. of India, according to Indian nuclear negotiator Amandeep Gill.

    "If they agreed to limit U.S. industry liability, well how do they do that? You can agree in diplomatic terms, but what does that mean in a U.S. or an Indian court? It's unclear," Schneider said. He also said any insurance scheme would have to be in the order of hundreds of billions of dollars to make sense.

    "We look forward to reviewing the governmental agreement," GE Hitachi said in a statement.

    "As GE has stated previously, we believe a sustainable solution is one that brings India into compliance with the International Convention on Supplementary Compensation."

    Westinghouse said chief executive Danny Roderick expressed his support for the government efforts to resolve issues blocking U.S. participation in India's nuclear market.

    "We've lost some time and we've fallen a bit behind," with construction agreements with Indian builders on hold, Roderick said in an interview Monday with Indian broadcaster NDTV.

    "What I'm worried about is we could lose another two or three years if we don't really have a mandate from the government."

    As senior vice president of Nuclear Plant Projects at GE Hitachi in 2009, Roderick signed an agreement with Larsen & Toubro, India's largest engineering and construction company, to provide components for new plants and help with site preparation.

    "We will be trying to start construction (in India) in the 2013 time frame," Roderick said at the time.

    This report includes material from the Associated Press.

    Metro desk: 343-2384

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