The 1984 Bhopal gas disaster that claimed more than 15,000 lives has made India wary about trusting foreign firms with potentially volatile technologies. The recent Japan nuclear power plant disaster has only served to fortify India's wariness.
With its economy and its demand for energy growing rapidly, India wants to raise its nuclear power generating capacity from the current 5,000 megawatts a year to more than 60,000 megawatts by 2032.
An additional complication is that before India can buy American and French reactors, New Delhi has to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with Japan. Those reactors use Japanese parts and technology, which cannot be supplied until Japan changes its law to allow nuclear trade with India. Another complication occurred last month when the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which has about four dozen members, voted at a meeting in The Hague to bar access to sensitive uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology, which can be used to make atomic bombs, to countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Center supports the U.S. effort to build nuclear power plants in India. And if the U.S. companies are confident in the safety of their technology, there should be no reason for them to adhere to India's self indemnification requirement. (Wash Post, 7/19/2011)