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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: India is hoping a controversial nuclear agreement with the U.S. will receive Senate approval before Congress wraps up its lame-duck session. The bill would recognize India as a nuclear weapon state for the first time. The Senate will begin discussions in the coming week. Some are saying passage this month remains uncertain, but yesterday the U.S. ambassador to India predicted Senate approval. Miranda Kennedy reports from New Delhi that many U.S. companies there are hoping for the same.
MIRANDA KENNEDY: The head of GE Energy, Andrew White, announced this week in India that GE plans to build nuclear power reactors here.
That will only be possible if the nuclear agreement makes it through Congress. The deal aims to end a ban on nuclear trade which could help India meet its growing energy needs.
On a recent visit to New Delhi, Ron Somers, head of the US India Business Council, said the agreement would be good for U.S. companies.
RON SOMERS: The business opportunity just in civilian nuclear power alone for U.S. companies, the value of that opportunity is $60 billion US dollars, in equipment, in all the aspects that go into infrastructure.
If the deal goes through, GE plans to pony up new reactors as fast as it can. But if the deal doesn’t happen, negotiations will have to start over again in a new Congress, one dominated by Democrats traditionally opposed to proliferation.
In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.
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