Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Burgh Energy Report: Indian Nuclear Power

While the future of shale gas is still very much an open question, the nuclear power industry continues to ponder an increasingly bright future. Job growth at Westinghouse is a proven winner for Greater Pittsburgh. Recent news suggests that the growing energy market in India is ready to do business:

Both Houses of India’s Parliament have passed the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) bill, which establishes and allocates liability on diverse stakeholders participating in the nuclear power industry. Previously, I observed that key contentious issues had to be resolved in order to move forward with the bill, including a stronger compensation regime; broadening the “actors” beyond operators of the facility who would be liable for compensation; and extending the statute of limitations. ...

... Lastly, the world is on the verge of a nuclear energy renaissance, hence suppliers’ order books will witness robust growth, and thus it may be beneficial to “sharpen” incentives against cutting corners by suppliers (regardless of how small the possibility is due to adverse reputation effects). In fact, inclusion of supplier’s liability is a model that other countries may emulate in due course as it is not without merit, irrespective of industry clamour against it in the Indian context.

My read of the situation is that there is some surprise that the deal got done before the legislators took their leave. If you are watching stocks today, the sense of urgency is understandable. India is booming along with its appetite for energy:

New Delhi is counting on the lure of the Indian market to attract U.S. nuclear suppliers eager to resuscitate their own industry following a bruising downturn. According to the U.S. Business Council, about $100 billion worth of investment is needed to develop nuclear energy in India over the next 20 years.

The entry of global players will help India build nuclear plants to boost power-generation capacity in a country where power deficits have inhibited production and, as a result, economic growth. Government estimates suggest that the heightened activity will also invigorate India's nascent nuclear industry and raise nuclear power generation from the current 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW by 2020.

Much of the talent powering future Indian growth could be located in Pittsburgh. I would think that local coverage of the legislation merits more than a reprint of a New York Times article. I can't be the only one interested to know what Westinghouse thinks of the recent developments.

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