Westinghouse bankruptcy is proving to be an impediment for Indian nuclear programme that envisaged to triple its nuclear generating capacity by 2024. The deal with the Westinghouse Electric Company, the US arm for Japan’s Toshiba, to build six nuclear reactors is likely to miss the deadline in June 2017 and India has asked the Japanese firm to suggest a way out.
The $150 billion deal was undergoing advanced techno-commercial negotiations expected to reach its final stages next month, now the Indian establishment has to wait till the company come with “solutions” to meet the deadline. However, the deal hit a roadblock as Westinghouse, a one-time market leader and American giant acquired by Toshiba in 2006, filed for bankruptcy in March this year.
According to an official quoted by the Financial Express: “Though no money has exchanged hands, and with techno-commercial negotiations of the deal at an advanced stage, any delay or even a cancellation from the US-based company will impact India’s target of tripling its nuclear generating capacity by 2024.” The deal would have bolstered India’s nuclear generation capacity by many fold.
The deadline for the deal was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former US President Barack Obama in 2016. A confident India had also allotted a site for a 2,500 MW nuclear power station in Gujarat and identified locations for GE plants in Andhra Pradesh. India is hoping to resolve the situation through a slew of meetings before the impending summer visit of Prime Minister Modi to the US.
Despite the uncertainty India and Westinghouse are continuing the negotiations with US’ Exim Bank for loan of around $8-9 billion to part-fund building of the reactors.
Westinghouse is one of the two US companies selected for building nuclear power reactors in India following the 2008 India-US civil nuclear agreement. Its Indian partner has been the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. The US-based firm has tried assuage the apprehensions in India saying it is not abandoning the bids in the country.