The government is set to initiate official talks with the international atomic energy watchdog on India-specific safeguards agreement to enable international civilian nuclear cooperation.
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar will meet with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohammed ElBaradei on November 21, a day before the IAEA regular Board meeting, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) sources told PTI in Mumbai on Monday.
DAE officials, who had marathon discussions for the last two days in Mumbai on the issue of safeguards to be discussed with the IAEA, received confirmation of an appointment with ElBaradei last night to initiate negotiations, the DAE sources said.
The UPA-Left committee had on Friday given clearance to the government to go ahead with the talks on country-specific safeguards with the IAEA.
Kakodkar, who is accompanied by DAE's Strategic Planning Group Director Ravi B Grover, will discuss among other things the separation plan of Indian nuclear plants, the safeguard arrangements of the fuel dependent countries and demands by India on country-specific safeguards.
The IAEA regular Board meeting will be held on November 22-23 and will take up implementation issues on current safeguards and technical co-operation projects undertaken by the agency.
Following Kakodkar's meeting with ElBaradei, his team will be officially negotiating with the safeguards group of IAEA during the next few days, they said.
Sources also said that a special committee, comprising representatives from DAE, Ministry of External Affairs and IAEA, is expected to be formed to negotiate with the US and other Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) countries for paving the road for operationalisation of international cooperation on civilian nuclear power programme.
Kakodkar had to cancel his trip to Andhra Pradesh where he was supposed to inaugurate a uranium mine at Tummapal in Cuddappah district on Tuesday.
He was also supposed to inaugurate the Indian Nuclear Society's annual meeting scheduled on November 21 in Hyderabad, the sources said.