Government of India unveils text of IAEA safeguards pact

July 10th, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 10 (ANI): Indian government today unveiled the text of safeguards agreement reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog.
Under the agreement, India will place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards to facilitate full civil nuclear co-operation between India and members of IAEA.
The agreement also mentions that India will have to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities. India will also have continuous access to fuel supplies.
The agreement envisages support for Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of India’’s reactors.
India may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies.
India had approached the IAEA on Wednesday with the India-specific nuclear safeguards accord to seek its approval.
The draft was circulated to the nuclear watchdog’’s Board of Governors following a request from the Indian Government.
The safeguards pact, which is the next step in the operationalisation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, was sent to the 35-nation Board on a day when the Left parties formally withdrew their support from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in a press statement on Wednesday that the IAEA Secretariat circulated to members of the IAEA board of governors for their consideration the draft of an “Agreement with the Government of India for the Application of Safeguards to Civilian Nuclear Facilities,”
“The Board Chairman will consult members to fix a date to discuss the draft amid reports that a special governors” meeting will be convened in Vienna on July 28 to discuss the safeguards text,” Fleming added.
The draft notes that India “may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies.” The phrasing appears to be cracking open the door for India to end IAEA oversight of some facilities.
An annex to the draft meant to list the facilities India is prepared to put under IAEA supervision is left blank.
New Delhi went to IAEA after the G-8 nations and the US President pledged full support to the nuclear cooperation agreement.
The statement said that G-8 nations look forward to working with India, the IAEA, the NSG and other partners to advance India’’s non-proliferation commitments and progress so as to facilitate a more robust approach to civil nuclear cooperation to help New Delhi to meet its growing energy needs.
Earlier, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while on his tour to Japan had announced that his government would go to the IAEA soon to discuss a safeguards agreement with regard to the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal.
He had also said the government would approach the IAEA “very soon” and once it takes the decision the process in this regard was expected to move “pretty fast”. (ANI)

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