New Delhi — Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, 2015 has seen major achievements in the field of civil nuclear cooperation.
The implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the US was put back on course when the prime minister hosted President Barack Obama in New Delhi on 25-27 January. Since then, the administrative arrangement for implementing the agreement has been signed and the India Nuclear Insurance Pool set up to implement the understanding on civil nuclear liability, which has addressed international and domestic concerns on India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act of 2010.
Commercial negotiations between NPCIL and Westinghouse for the construction of 6 units of the AP-1000 reactor at Mithi Virdi, Gujarat are on course for finalization in 2016.
Civil nuclear cooperation with Russia and France has also been taken forward during the year. During the prime minister’s visit to France in April 2015, a MoU between M/s Larsen and Toubro and M/s Areva, aimed at cost reduction by increasing localisation for the Jaitapur project in Maharashtra, was signed.
On 22 December, during the prime minister’s visit to Russia, a joint programme of action for localisation of manufacturing in India for Russian-designed nuclear power plants was signed. A minimum of 12 reactor units will be built with Russian collaboration.
Following the signing of a contract for the long-term supply of uranium during the prime minister’s visit to Canada in April 2015, the first consignment of uranium reached India in December 2015. Likewise, a long-term contract for the purchase of uranium was signed during the prime minister’s visit to Kazakhstan in July 2015.
India and Britain signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement after the two sides held delegation level talks during the prime minister’s three-day visit to Britain. “The conclusion of the civil nuclear agreement is a symbol of our mutual trust and our resolve to combat climate change,” Modi said while issuing a joint statement along with British Premier David Cameron.
In a major development, a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia was brought into force on 13 November along with the administrative arrangement for implementing the agreement. The fuel supply arrangements with Canada, Kazakhstan and Australia will bolster energy security by supporting the expansion of nuclear power in India.
The reaching of agreement on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan during Prime Minister Abe’s visit to India on 12 December brought to a close 5 years of negotiation on this issue. This pathbreaking development was made possible by strong engagement at the level of leaders.
In combination with initiatives taken at home, in particular the passage through Parliament of the amendment to the Atomic Energy Act for enabling NPCIL to enter into joint ventures with other PSUs, these agreements have laid a solid foundation for the expansion of nuclear energy in India. A promising area has at last been energized for implementation.