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US to build 6 nuclear power plants in India: WH

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The United States and India have agreed to move ahead with a plan to build six nuclear reactors in India, according to the White House.

The plan was finalized during a meeting between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Tuesday.

It will be the first such construction since the two countries signed a landmark nuclear accord in 2008.

The price for the project is still under discussion, but officials said more difficult issues like liability have been worked out.

India passed a law in 2010 that would make US companies constructing nuclear power plants in the country liable for accidents.

Under the new deal, India’s Nuclear Power Corporation and Westinghouse Electric Co. of the US will begin engineering work for the reactors, though the final contract is not expected to be completed until June 2017, White House officials said.

“Culminating a decade of partnership on civil nuclear issues, the leaders welcomed the start of preparatory work on-site in India for six AP 1000 reactors to be built by Westinghouse and noted the intention of India and the US Export-Import Bank to work together toward a competitive financing package for the project,” the White House said in a statement.

“Once completed, the project would be among the largest of its kind,” it added.

The deal is believed to be part of Washington’s drive to boost cooperation with India as a counterbalance to China.

Obama said at the meeting that the US and India intended to “cooperate more effectively in order to promote jobs, promote investment, promote trade and promote greater opportunities for our people.”

The meeting will be followed by a speech Wednesday by the Indian prime minister to a joint session of the US Congress, where he is expected to be greeted warmly by American lawmakers.

Modi also announced his intention to formally join the international climate-change agreement reached in Paris in December.

The inclusion of India is significant as it could guarantee that the Paris climate agreement will go into effect before the next US president takes office. India is the world’s third-largest emitter after China and the US.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for US president, has vowed to “cancel” the pact if elected.

It is Modi’s fourth visit to the US as New Delhi intends to forge closer ties with Washington before President Obama leaves office next year.

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