Indo-US deal implementation will take at least 2 yrs: Sazawal

Vijay Sazawal

MUMBAI: The ground-level implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal will take at least two years since finalizing the business model with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) by the US vendors is going to be the most “time consuming” effort, a top nuclear business expert said here today.

“Most time consuming effort in the entire deal is to work out the business model that will end up with a tariff rate in rupees per kilowatt-hour which is acceptable to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited,” Director of Government Programs of a global energy company USEC Inc, Vijay Sazawal told PTI here.

“This model is so different and will take at least two to two-and-a-half years to work out,” he said.

Referring to the modalities involved, Sazawal said, “This particular track is the one that US vendors are most unfamiliar with and may end up to be the most critical path in the execution of final contract between American Nuclear Suppliers and the NPCIL”.

Sazawal is also a member of the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee of the US Government and is closely involved as the expert on the subject matter in the US-India Business Council.

“I hope that US vendors and Indian utility (NPCIL) will come to a successful closure because of all the investment that went into the signing of the US-India Civil Nuclear cooperation deal,” he said.

Observing that the Indo-US nuclear deal is a continuous and multi-dimensional effort at the government-to-government level, Sazawal said the respective governments are trying to exchange ideas and projects regarding safety, improvements in technology and other areas of common interests.

Both countries are engaged in discussions with certain number of US vendors, including GE and Westinghouse, and the success of those negotiations requires completion of formalities on three tracks, Sazawal said, underlining the challenges involved therein.

Track number one is that of building a business model, while the second one is of supporting NPCIL in securing license approval from the Indian Regulatory Authority, so that the technology will be approved for utilization in India, he said.

“The big challenge here is to smooth out areas like the Code of Federal Regulations Part 810 in technology transfer.

There are some pending issues which are getting considerable attention in both the countries for orderly resolution,” Sazawal said.

He said the third track is about the terms and conditions where legal experts address the issues dealing with risk, liability, warranty, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and others.

“Here (for the third track) the challenge is in bridging the divide between Indian Nuclear Liability Law and the expectations of US which are in line with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC),” Sazawal said.

India had signed the CSC at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in October last year but is in the process of making Implementation Rules and has to ratify by submitting to the international watchdog.

“We expect that the Implementation Rules will address most of the concerns expressed by the western vendors, though the US legal community will remain skeptical until the Rules are made public,” Sazawal added. -PTI

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