NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Westinghouse Electric is hoping to take further steps toward supplying nuclear power plant equipment to India even if issues about liability are not yet resolved, the head of the company said on Thursday.
During President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi last month, the two countries announced a “breakthrough” designed to open India’s nuclear power sector to U.S. firms by addressing concerns for liability borne by suppliers.
But few details were released beyond a framework based on India’s acceptance of the principle that plant operators should bear primary liability in the event of a nuclear disaster, and significant work remains on the fine print of the deal.
“It’s still really early,” Danny Roderick, chief executive of Toshiba unit Westinghouse, told reporters after an industry event in New York. “You have to realize these are documents that are going to take months and months to review.”
Roderick, who was in India when the U.S.-India agreement was announced, said he plans to return to the country in the next few months. Westinghouse has been granted land in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat to build six reactors.
“I‘m hopeful that the May time-frame, when I come back from India, that we’re going to have a plan on how we might be able to move forward commercially, even if I can’t totally move forward in the nuclear liability space yet,” Roderick said. “There’s a lot to do long before I need the nuclear liability.”
In the past, Roderick said, “We have established commercial protocol that says we can move forward to this point under the understanding that if you don’t fix your nuclear liability regime that you can’t ever operate this unit, or you can’t get fuel or whatever the case may be.” (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Bernard Orr)