India Seeking U.S. Loans For AP-1000 Project

With partisan politics casting a shadow over the process, India is reportedly negotiating with the U.S. government's Export-Import Bank for a loan of up to $9 billion in order to help finance a six-unit nuclear build that involves Westinghouse Electric's AP1000 technology.

Westinghouse AP1000Party politics is gumming up the works. There are five seats on the Export-Import Bank's board of directors and the bank is not allowed to make loans over $10 million with fewer than three directors at the helm. Currently, there are only two directors in place. However, Republicans in Washington are leveraging a critical spending bill to push reductions in the size of the government, which includes elimination of the Export-Import Bank. As such, nominations that could fill the empty seats on the bank's board are being held up by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

According to Vijay Sazawal, the director of the International Atomic Energy Consulting in Washington, as quoted by the Times of India, “the goal right now is to get that financing done during President Obama's tenure, knowing full well that it may or may not stick in a new administration following the … presidential election.

According to sources, India is also seeking financial backing from Japan and from South Korea, which has a stake in the process, given some of the contracts for reactor components are likely to go to South Korean firms. In turn, Japan has a stake in the project given the owner of U.S.-based Westinghouse is Toshiba Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate.

India has set a goal of increasing energy capacity from nuclear power to 63,000 MW by 2032, which is a ten-fold increase over its current capacity. For other projects, India is negotiating with EDF from France and Rosatom from Russia. The six-unit Westinghouse project is slated for Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India.

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