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India, Japan may step up nuclear co-operation in non-energy areas

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 13 Sep 17 | 11:13 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad. Photo: PTI

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.

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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 Ahemdabad tomorrow.

"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 today for a two-day visit.

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