The US has warned India that if it doesn’t withdraw the controversial deal, it may not be able to sell any nuclear reactors in India.
The US, which has invested more than $USUS1 billion in India’s nuclear power sector, has accused India of being behind the deal to sell the reactors in the United States to France’s Areva and UK’s Areca.
Areva has been the biggest beneficiary of the deal, with its new nuclear plants currently operating at a discount to Areva’s existing reactors.
Areca has not commented on the US threat.
The issue of the sale to Areca is the latest skirmish in a dispute that dates back to 2005.
India has long maintained that Areva, Areca and its parent company, French energy giant EDF, should not be allowed to sell nuclear power plants to any other country without obtaining approval from the US.
The two countries have clashed over the rights of Indian companies to use nuclear energy, and the US is accused of trying to use the case to impose an arms control regime.
Arevas chief executive officer, Naveen Jain, and Areca president, Pascal Cvetkovic, have both spoken out against the US and its Indian allies.
Arecas dispute began in August, when the Indian government filed a lawsuit against Areva for selling a number of Areva nuclear reactors to French companies in an attempt to stop the sale.
The complaint alleges that Arevans nuclear reactors would provide “a source of reliable power in the Indian winter”.
In response to the lawsuit, Areva said it would not sell any reactors to Indian entities without obtaining Indian government approval.
“We are committed to our cooperation with India and its government on matters of mutual interest and are ready to work with the government of India to resolve this matter,” Areva spokesman Vikram Ramesh told The Times Of India in an email.
India had said it planned to seek approval from Indian government for the sale, but the US had threatened to block the deal if the Indian parliament did not agree.
India and the United Kingdom signed the Joint Declaration in 2005, in which they agreed to cooperate on issues related to nuclear energy.
It was signed under the previous US administration and has been in force since 2012.
India is the world’s largest nuclear power producer with 1,200 MW of nuclear capacity, mostly built on sites in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The reactors have been operating in India since 1996.
The sale of Areca’s reactors has also been opposed by India’s neighbouring countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as by China, which is India’s biggest trading partner.
Pakistan, the world leader in nuclear power, has said it will not sell nuclear reactors unless Areva sells them to it.
Area, the largest nuclear supplier in India, said in a statement that it had no comment on the latest US threat, but it said it was “not surprised by the US’s decision”.
Areva had previously said it had “no immediate plans to sell” any reactors.
In a statement, Arevasa said it is ready to “help India in its defence of its interests”.
Arevashan, which also manufactures reactors, said it does not have a problem with the US but that the country is “not ready to take the decision of unilateral or unilateral measures”.
India has accused Areva of “abusing” its nuclear assets.
In August, India said it plans to seek a court order to stop Areva from selling any nuclear plants to India without its approval.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Trade said that Arevalas “solicited an order from the court that would block the sale and prohibit Arevas acquisition of nuclear plants in India”.
The government had also threatened to take legal action against Arevalans activities if the nuclear deal is not stopped.