India all set to sign safeguards agreement with IAEA in Vienna

February 1st, 2009 - 10:33 pm ICT by ANI  

Mumbai, Feb.1 (ANI): The Government of India is all set to sign a crucial safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Monday which will allow supply of the much needed atomic fuel and technology to the country.

The agreement holds significance, as it would be moving a step closer to operationalising its international civil nuclear cooperation after the 34-year-old nuke-trade embargo was lifted.

“We will sign the India Specific Safeguards Agreement (ISSA), a key inspection agreement in the afternoon of Monday in Vienna. The ISSA was approved by the 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on August 1 last year and now it will get ready for operationalisation of the civil cooperation,” Saurb Kumar, the Indian Ambassador in Vienna was quoted by a news agency as saying.

The chief negotiator Ravi B Grover and Gitesh Sarma, Joint secretary, External affairs of the Department of Atomic Energy who are already in Vienna would assist Mr.Kumar.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, who is the Chairman, Atomic Energy commission informed that once the ISSA was signed on Monday (Feb.2), the next immediate step would be to work for the process of ratification by Indian Government.

Kakodkar added that the second step the department would take up is to file a declaration to the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA on which facilities will be placed under safeguards and their time frame (it is like filling up the annexure to the agreement).

Once the Government ratifies the ISSA, the Nuclear Power corporation which is presently operating its reactors at less than 40 per cent capacity may soon benefit in the form of fuel import.

The agreement with IAEA is a pre-condition for the implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal and allowing the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers” Group (NSG) to supply material and technology for India’’s ambitious nuclear power programme. (ANI)

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