The US India Business Council (USIBC) has welcomed India's move to reserve sites for the US commercial nuclear technology and described it as a significant step towards implementing the US-India civil nuclear initiative.
The Cabinet has reserved two sites -- Mithi Virdi in Gujarat and Kovada in Andhra Pradesh -- to host the US nuclear reactor parks in India.
Designation of the sites was advocated by the USIBC, Washington-based trade group that championed the successful US initiative to end the global ban against commercial nuclear trade with India, Ron Somers, USIBC President told PTI.
"Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are excellent locations," he said adding "these places have people who appreciate the benefits of reliable electricity supplies and have abundant human talent to erect and maintain these state-of-the-art facilities."
"We're delighted to see the historic US-India nuclear accord move into implementation," said Ted Jones, Director for Energy, Environment and Enterprise at USIBC.
USIBC, in partnership with the Nuclear Energy Institute and the US Commercial Service of the US International Trade Administration, will lead an executive delegation of US commercial nuclear companies to India in early December this year, Somers said.
"Our commercial nuclear companies are eager to play a role in India's sustainable development," Jones said.
The US firms have eagerly awaited official designation of sites to their companies, necessary for project development to proceed.
"US companies bring not just zero-carbon nuclear power, but the most advanced and safest nuclear reactors and reactor components in the world," he claimed.
In September last, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, with strong leadership from the US, amended its rules to allow India to engage in international trade in commercial nuclear equipment, fuel and technology.
Since then, India has moved forward with other nations like Russia, France and Kazakhstan, purchasing Uranium from multiple countries and designating nuclear sites to Russia and France.
With officially designating sites for the US technology, India is fulfilling its commitment to partner with the US companies in the forthcoming expansion of its nuclear generating capacity.
According to India's plans, each reactor park will ultimately host between six and eight reactors.
"The new plants are not the only opportunity for US suppliers. More immediately, they will find opportunities in supplying fuel, components and services to India's existing fleet of reactors," Jones added.
During the December trade mission, we will meet with Indian policymakers and public-sector executives to identify these opportunities and work to enable our full participation in the Indian market," Jones said.
However, a few important steps still remain to enable full participation by the private sector. These include India's bringing into force the India-specific IAEA safeguards agreement, a prerequisite for any international participation in India and the country's adoption of a nuclear liability law, a prerequisite for participation by the private sector, including Indian private sector companies, he said.
The private sector companies, both in the US and India, are hopeful that the Indian Government will soon approve a nuclear liability law consistent with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), an IAEA-sponsored treaty to guarantee compensation in the event of an accident and share costs among international participants.
Only with predictable liability risks, provided by the CSC, can private companies provide India the world's newest, most efficient and safest technologies.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Dr Anil Kakodkar said, India is working simultaneously on various issues to enable the co-operation, including approval of liability law, and is getting ready for the CSC too.