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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…)