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French nuclear giant Areva signed a preliminary deal Wednesday to provide India with up to six new-generation reactors — a move hailed in India as ending its nuclear isolation and transforming the country into “a responsible nuclear state.”

The Paris-based company says the deal signed with Indian electric utility Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. paves the way for technical cooperation on at least two and as many as six of Areva’s so-called EPRs, or Evolutionary Power Reactors, at the Jaitapur site in the western state of Maharashtra.

The size of India’s nuclear market is estimated at more than $30 billion.

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