Indian nuclear scientists to benefit from end of British ban

November 11th, 2008 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 11 (IANS) The end of a British ban on exporting sensitive nuclear technology to India will facilitate greater exchanges between nuclear scientists from the two countries, a British minister said.After a six-year-freeze, Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said Britain will “encourage contacts between UK nuclear scientists, academics and those working in or with the UK nuclear industry with their Indian counterparts, except where we consider that such contacts might be of assistance to the weapons-related aspects of its nuclear programme.”

“Where such contacts involve the transfer of technology which require export licences we will continue to consider applications for such licences on a cases-by-case basis, in accordance with the provisions of UK export control legislation,” he said Monday.

The ban on the export of dual-use technology following India’s nuclear test in April 1998 had had a negative impact on contacts between scientists from India and Western countries, including in areas such as medicine.

The British move follows the clearance given by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to India Sep 6, removing it from countries that were not allowed to receive ‘Trigger List’ items - equipment and materials that could be used to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

Rammell told parliament: “Since March 2002, UK policy has been to refuse all licence applications for Trigger List items to India.

“That policy has now changed and we will now consider on a case by case basis licence applications for peaceful use of all items… destined for International Atomic Energy Agency safeguarded civil nuclear facilities in India.”

He, however, said that the ban would remain in force on items destined for “unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities” or where there is an “unacceptable risk” the material might be diverted to those activities.

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