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Nuclear Townhall
January 17, 2011

NuScale Power’s president Paul Lorenzini will be one of 24 American company representatives on board next month when Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke visits India on a trade mission.

Also among the passengers will be officials from GE-Hitachi, the international partnership that is trying to revive GE’s sagging nuclear fortunes. “Exports are leading the U.S. economic recovery, spurring future economic growth and creating jobs in America,” Secretary Locke told The Hill. “The business leaders joining me on this mission see the great potential to sell their goods and services to India, helping drive innovation and create jobs in both countries.”

Packing nuclear experts aboard certainly makes sense. Although only a handful of reactors at best will be built in this country over the next decade, Asia is bursting with nuclear construction and India is near the head of the pack.

The Subcontinent plans to add 20 new reactors by 2020 and 43 more by 2032. All these are on the order of 1000 megawatts, but NuScale’s 45-megawatt modular reactor has tremendous promise for rural areas in India’s underdeveloped countryside.

While France, Japan, Korea and Russia now dominate world construction, the U.S. has at least a glimmer of a chance of gaining leverage in India. The opening occurred when the Bush Administration decided to overlook the Non-Proliferation Treaty and strike a deal with India on nuclear technology in 2006, even though India has still not signed the international agreement.

Russia already has a foothold in India, with two Rosatom WER-1000’s scheduled for completion this year. Russia will be supplying the uranium but India will do its own reprocessing, thereby adding to its plutonium stock.

Because the long international boycott blocked its access to world uranium, India has also developed a thorium technology that may lead the world in exploiting this alternate source of nuclear fuel. The country also has a small nuclear desalination plant at Kudankulam and is constructing a 500 MW fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.

In fact, one thing Secretary Locke may discover is that, in terms of the nuclear market, India has as much to sell us as we have to sell them

Read more about it at the Hill and the Gazette Times

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