India, US expected to finalise reprocessing pact in two weeks | india | Hindustan Times
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India, US expected to finalise reprocessing pact in two weeks

india Updated: Nov 29, 2009 16:53 IST
Ajay Kaul
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India and the US are expected to finalise a crucial agreement on reprocessing under the civil nuclear deal in two weeks, with all but one issue being resolved and negotiations entering the last lap.

"We have arrived into the last stage of negotations... only one issue remains, that of finalising the legal text," National Security Adviser M K Narayanan told journalists accompanying the Prime Minister on his return home from a two-nation tour of the US and Trinidad and Tobago.

The two sides were racing against time to conclude the agreement for setting up of dedicated reprocessing facility before the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.

The setting up of reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards is a key requirement for implementation of the civil nuclear deal.

Sources said negotiations had gained momentum after the intervention at the highest level.

The negotiations are almost complete and one more round of discussions will be required to clinch the agreement, possibly in 10-12 days, sources said.

They said the two sides have resolved two of the key issues that were holding up the conclusion of the agreement. These were questions like whether one or more dedicated facility should be set up and what should be the type of security for these installations.

India has been wanting to set up multiple facilities arguing that it would be beneficial for the US as the work of reprocessing would increase after the US started setting up nuclear plants in India.

It has been agreed that one dedicated facility would be set up initially with a provision for more in case the need arose, the sources said.

With regard to security, it has been agreed that the protective mechanism would be on the lines of what exists in the US, the sources said.

The third sticking point was whether reprocessing should be suspended any time and in what circumstances and conditions.

Sources said the two sides are working on a mutually acceptable legal text.

On whether the dedicated reprocessing facility will be used to reprocess only American fuel, the sources said the commitment is only for US fuel. There has been no issue about reprocessing fuel of other countries and there has been no request in that regard from any other country.