GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is helping lead this week’s 50-member, U.S. nuclear industry delegation to India to support the expansion of safe, low-carbon nuclear energy to increase electricity supplies in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Danny Roderick, GEH’s senior vice president of nuclear plant projects, will serve as co-leader of the delegation in meetings today through Friday in New Delhi and Mumbai with senior Indian government officials and energy industry leaders. Certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the mission is organized by the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

The trade mission provides a forum for discussions on next steps in supplying India with next-generation nuclear reactor technology and related services, as the United States and India continue to implement their historic cooperation agreement on civilian nuclear energy, approved in 2008. In Washington, D.C., U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Nov. 24 reiterated their commitment to fully implement the bilateral agreement.

“This week’s trade mission to India comes on the heels of Prime Minister Singh’s successful state visit to Washington, and after months of steady progress toward making the historic U.S.-India nuclear accord a commercial reality,” said USIBC Director Ted Jones. “We look forward to working closely with our Indian partners and we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is once again providing leadership for this initiative.”

Nuclear energy is one of the few baseload sources of electricity that create nearly zero CO2 emissions during the electricity-generation process. GEH offers its ABWR and ESBWR reactor designs to customers worldwide to meet the individual needs of energy companies seeking to meet rising energy demand with low greenhouse gas emission power alternatives.

“The U.S. nuclear industry has the knowledge, experience and expanding infrastructure to support the global construction, operation and maintenance of nuclear energy facilities,” said Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We welcome the opportunity to provide innovative products and services to India as a means of meeting fast-rising electricity demand with a proven, clean-energy technology.”

India plans to expand its electricity production from nuclear energy more than tenfold, from 4.1 gigawatts (GW) today to 63 GW by 2032. Of that total, an estimated 30-40 GW would come from imported reactor technologies, including from GEH, with global headquarters in Wilmington, N.C.

India has set aside two sites for potential 10,000-MW nuclear power stations featuring reactor designs from U.S.-based providers. One of the two sites is in the western state of Gujarat and the other is in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Under terms of a preliminary agreement signed earlier this year with Mumbai-based Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), GEH could help India’s nuclear utility build multiple third-generation nuclear reactors at one of the two sites.

“GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy stands ready to support India’s ambitious plans to grow its nuclear-energy program,” Roderick said. “The prospects are exciting for job growth in both countries. Nuclear energy has a leading role to play in addressing carbon emissions as part of a diversified portfolio of energy generation solutions.”

With the 1,350-MWe ABWR, GEH offers the world’s only commercially proven Generation III reactor with successful construction and operational experience. The first of four ABWRs now in service went online in 1996, and four additional units are being built today.

GEH’s 1,520-MWe ESBWR design is Generation III+ technology offering advantages including passive safety features, a further simplified design and even higher safety margins than the already safe, deployed fleet of nuclear reactors. The ESBWR currently is progressing in the design certification process of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

To begin preparing the local manufacturing and construction resources needed for a multiple-unit reactor project in India, GEH has signed separate agreements with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. and Larsen & Toubro. These resources would complement GEH’s global supply chain. GEH will continue to apply advanced, modular construction techniques developed by its global nuclear alliance during decades of uninterrupted plant construction.

The trade delegation is the U.S. industry’s second mission to India since the October 2008 approval of the U.S.-India nuclear energy cooperation agreement, which lifted a three-decade ban on nuclear technology trade between the two countries. Such agreements create the legal framework to enable U.S. firms to provide other countries with nuclear technology and fuel.

GE has a long history of working with India’s civilian nuclear energy industry, having built the Tarapur 1 & 2 units that started the nation’s original civilian nuclear energy program in the 1960s.

Source: GE News

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