Taking another step towards the implementation of the civil nuclear deal, India and the US have completed negotiations on “arrangements and procedures” for re-processing US-origin spent fuel.
“This important step is part of the great win-win narrative of the US-India global partnership…,” US ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer said on Monday. The arrangements, he said, would enable Indian re-processing of US-obligated nuclear material under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
Nuclear fuel that is used up or depleted in a reactor and has lost its ability to efficiently create energy is spent fuel.
Placing the finalisation of the pact in the context of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington to attend the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit, the ambassador said the US recognised that the Indian leader shared President Barack Obama’s vision for a nuclear weapons-free world.
“We applaud India’s outstanding track record on non-proliferation issues, and we look forward to our continuing cooperation in this area,” he said.
The pact was finalised after the third round of negotiations early March between department of atomic energy officials, led by R.B. Grover, and a US delegation led by Richard Stratford, the non-proliferation expert in the state department.
The first round of talks was held in July.
With the reprocessing hurdle over, the government will be keen to push the Civil Nuclear Liabilities Bill that seeks to cap at Rs 500 crore damages to be paid by foreign nuclear companies in case of nuclear accidents. The Bill will facilitate entry of US firms in India.
The two sides had taken an important step towards implementing the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, the external affairs ministry said.