In­dia, Ja­pan may step up nuclear co­op­er­a­tion

Financial Chronicle - - FUNDAMENTALS, POLITICS -

IN­DIA and Ja­pan may en­hance their co­op­er­a­tion in non-en­ergy ar­eas of the nuclear sec­tor, a se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial said to­day, ahead of the del­e­ga­tion level talks be­tween the prime min­is­ters of the two coun­tries.

The of­fi­cial, how­ever, said there are lit­tle chances of an agree­ment to pro­cure equip­ment from Ja­pan for build­ing nuclear power plants in the coun­try as talks with French com­pany EDF and Amer­i­can nuclear gi­ant West­ing­house Elec­tric Com­pany are on­go­ing in this re­gard. There is, how­ever, a pos­si­bil­ity of ne­go­ti­a­tions to have Ja­panese credit-line in fu­ture for procur­ing th­ese high-end equip­ment, he said.

Non-en­ergy ar­eas in­clude nuclear medicine, ir­ra­di­a­tion, re­search and de­vel­op­ment in atomic sec­tor. The West­ing­house Elec­tric Com­pany and EDF are to build six power re­ac­tors each in Ko­vadda and Jaita­pur in Ma­ha­rash­tra. The Ko­vadda plant will have each re­ac­tor of 1,208 MW ca­pac­ity while the Jaita­pur site will have 1650 MW each.

“It is un­likely that an agree­ment will be signed in the nuclear power sec­tor, but we could look at some non-power ar­eas. Last minute talks be­tween the two sides are on,” the of­fi­cial, who did not wish to be named, said.

Prime Min­is­ter Modi and his Ja­panese coun­ter­part Shinzo Abe will hold del­e­ga­tion level talks at Ahmed­abad on Thurs­day.

“There could be a ref­er­ence in the joint state­ment on co­op­er­a­tion to be done in the nuclear power sec­tor,” the of­fi­cial added.

Last week, For­eign Sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar had said Ja­pan can make sub­stan­tive dif­fer­ence to In­dia’s nuclear in­dus­try.

For­eign nuclear players like the EDF and West­ing­house are keen to im­port equip­ment from Ja­pan for their projects in In­dia. This could make a siz­able dif­fer­ence to over­all cost of the project, an­other of­fi­cial said. The In­dia-Ja­pan civil nuclear co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment was signed in Novem­ber 2016 and it came into force this July.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Abe ar­rived in Ahmed­abad on Wed­nes­day for a two-day visit.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi with his Ja­panese coun­ter­part Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie at the Sabar­mati Ashram. With Abe clad in kurta-py­jama and a royal blue Nehru jacket and his wife don­ning a red sal­war-kameez, the trio ar­rived at the Ashram in a...

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