The Narendra Modi government sought to revive a 20 billion dollar deal for a nuclear power plant with US-based firm Westinghouse on 28 June. However, the track record of the company does not inspire confidence, say experts.
The deadline for finalising contractual arrangements with India was June 2017 and it hasn’t been met yet. Other countries too have been plagued by delays.
In China, the first plant was scheduled to be up by 2013 and four years later there continues to be delays. In the US too, work on four nuclear plants began but not one has been completed yet.
Why should this matter to India? Because, while the construction of the plant will be done by a local partner, design and consultation will be provided by Westinghouse.
David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis at Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says the risks are real.
“There would be a risk that Westinghouse would go bankrupt and disappearing while plants are being constructed, leaving India to finish the plants on its own.”
Westinghouse shareholders have also bore the brunt of these delays. In the last two years they have lost half the worth of their shares, Tim Buckley from Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said: “Not sure Westinghouse has maintained research to a standard India should aspire to. It is strategic stupidity for India to invest billions with a failed company.”
Not In India’s Interest: Experts on Westinghouse Nuclear Deal