'Congress should back nuke deal'

Sep 27 | Updated: Sep 29 2008, 04:07am hrs
In the US-India agreement on civilian nuclear-power cooperation, Congress has the opportunity to create thousands of US high-tech jobs, to encourage adoption of the safest, non-polluting energy-generation technology and to help solve the energy needs of Indias one billion people. It also would solidify relations with a key democratic ally.

In a time of market turmoil and economic instability, this is a remarkable opportunity for the US and a rising economic partner. It must not be missed. Congress should approve the agreement as soon as possible.

Finding a solution to Indias mounting energy needs is more important than ever. As one of the worlds fastest-growing economies, India has an escalating power demand that is straining international energy supplies. Unchanged, this demand will be met with a greater reliance on fossil fuels, squeezing global oil prices while exacerbating greenhouse-gas emissions.

India understands this. So does the international Nuclear Suppliers Group, or NSG, those countries seeking to contribute to non-proliferation through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear-related exports.

Earlier this month, the NSG waived a 34-year ban on nuclear technology trade with India, giving it access to nuclear services from suppliers around the world. For the US, there remains one problem: Without congressional approval, the NSG waiver is moot, as U.S. firms and their employees will, by law, be forced to sit on the sidelines.

Reactor Construction

The agreement is good for the US-India relationship, good for global energy policy and security and good for US jobs. It opens up prospects for US companies to supply potentially billions of dollars worth of reactor technology, fuel and other services to India especially given the ambitious nuclear-plant construction program planned by India. About 30 domestic and foreign-supplied reactors may be built by 2030 alone. As chief executive officer of a company making this technology, I want to retain and hire those workers who can build the products that will help India realise

its future.