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India and US agree nuclear fuel reprocessing deal

Oilfield Technology,

America and India completed negotiations about arrangements and procedures for the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from the US. This will enable the reprocessing in India of US spent fuel under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

The deal is not complete though as there is still the matter of civil repatriations to overcome. The Civil Nuclear Liabilities Bill would have set the maximum damage that foreign operators had to pay in the event of an accident at US$ 450 million. American companies are unwilling to proceed without such compensation liability being underwritten in legislation, even though the Indian government has offered to tender construction of two nuclear power plants, worth US$ 10 billion, to US based firms General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co.

Opposition protests effectively blocked the legislation from being passed in India. However, French and Russian companies, whose accident liability is underwritten by their governments, have already been awarded contracts to build nuclear power plants.

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