The US based Westinghouse’s announcement to build six reactors in India is a breakthrough in its relationship with the US as well as the country’s effort to produce bulk energy without depending on fossil fuels. It is especially significant as India is not a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty.
Westinghouse has finalized a deal to build six reactors in Andhra Pradesh, eight years after India and the US signed a historic civil nuclear deal in 2008.
The deal brings two interesting plus points for India. Firstly, for the first time, the US is engaging in nuclear cooperation with India. The US being a historical opponent of India’s interest during the cold war era has now became one of the leading supporters of India’s effort to achieve prosperity.
Secondly, the deal takes Japan also in the alliance. Westinghouse is the US unit of the Japanese firm Toshiba corporation. Japan is yet to seriously decide on civil nuclear cooperation with India.
So far, two countries that have nuclear cooperation agreement with India on the energy front are Russia and France. Russia’s Rosatom operates two reactors at Kudankulam, while France’s EDF signed a preliminary deal with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to build six reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
India aims to quickly increase its nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032, from the present 5,780 MW, as part of the effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
At present, nearly 64% of the country’s electricity is produced from coal based power plants. Shift form fossil fuels to less polluting nuclear energy will help the country to support climatic change mitigation efforts as well.