US firm Westinghouse Electric and the NPCIL on Tuesday signed a preliminary pact for an Early Works Agreement (EWA) for installation of the first 1,000 MW American nuclear reactor in India under the historic 2008 Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
The announcement of the signing of the MoU, which represents a significant milestone towards the realisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal, coincided with the third Indo-US Strategic Dialogue headed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.
The MoU with the Nuclear Power Company of India Limited (NPCIL) related to negotiating an EWA supporting future construction of 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors at the Mithivirdi site in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. The EWA will include preliminary licensing and site development work.
"This(MoU) is a significant step towards fulfillment of our landmark civil nuclear cooperation agreement," Hillary said at a joint news conference with Krishna.
Referring to the signing of the MoU, Clinton, however, said there is still lot of work to be done including understanding the implications of the civil nuclear liability law. US nuclear companies have voiced reservations at some provisions of the liability legislation.
Clinton said the MoU committed both sides to work towards the preliminary licensing and site development work needed to begin construction of new reactors in Gujarat.
"This agreement is an important step which will allow Westinghouse and NPCIL to continue the work necessary for keeping the Mithivirdi project moving forward," said Gary Urquhart, vice-president and managing director of Westinghouse India.