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India’s reprocessing revisited: the NSG’s new guidelines July 21, 2011

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Weigold, Auriol , comments closed

Auriol Weigold

The forty-six member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) agreed on 24 June to strengthen its guidelines on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies (ENR) that, at first glance, may affect India’s nuclear agreement with the United States.

The NSG aims to prevent nuclear exports for commercial and peaceful purposes being used in nuclear weapon making.  To this end a raft of regulations bar the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology to states that have not signed or do not comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and do not allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) full inspection rights and safeguards to be put in place.  India has IAEA approval for its commercial nuclear program, but remains outside the NPT although its nonproliferation record has NSG recognition.

Then US Secretary of State Rice introducing the 123 Agreement

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“Operationalizing” the Indo-US nuclear agreement May 26, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Weigold, Auriol , comments closed

Auriol Weigold

India and the United States have ironed out their remaining differences over the reprocessing of US-originated spent nuclear fuel amidst much activity on nuclear matters.

These activities included the Washington Nuclear Summit in mid-April, closely followed by the Iranian conference, “Nuclear energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for None” (which India also attended), together with the release of the Nuclear Posture Review and the US-Russia Nuclear Agreement.

At a time of such activity, and with the 2010 NPT Review Conference now under way, was this, at last, the final step in the reprocessing saga? Compromise on the remaining contentious part of the 123 Agreement had stalled in early March 2010, but by the end of the month India and the United States announced that they had come to agreement on a nuclear reprocessing facility in India, expected to draw to a close the lengthy negotiations on an Indo-US nuclear agreement initiated during the Bush Administration.

The agreement to grant India consent to reprocess spent fuel was described as a “significant step forward for US-India commercial nuclear cooperation” (Arun Kumar, IANS, in Business News, 29 Mar 2010).The Times of India on 29 March and Reuters on the following day reported the agreement on procedures under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that makes up the bilateral civilian nuclear pact, but each article recognized that it was not the end of the road for American commercial interests. (more…)

Are more than ‘weasel-words’ holding up the Indo-US nuclear agreement? March 12, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Weigold, Auriol , comments closed

Auriol Weigold

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assures us that key differences in the spent fuel reprocessing and storage negotiations have been resolved and all that remains to do is to  ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’.

Some six months ago negotiations around words acceptable to both India and the United States on reprocessing were a problem, and progress appeared to be mired in technical complexities. The Indian Express reported early in 2010 that while India had made it clear it would not accept additional commitments made outside the Section 123 template it had agreed to, the United States had sought to import non-proliferation assurances that would be in line with its Atomic Agency Act. (more…)