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'Cong approval of reprocessing agreement is a mere formality'

world Updated: Apr 24, 2010 10:37 IST

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Noting that there is a bipartisan support to Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, the Obama Administration expressed hope that Congressional approval of the reprocessing agreement reached between the two countries is a "mere formality".

"The next step on the US side is the submission of the arrangements and procedures to Congress for a review period of 30 days of continuous session. The departments of Energy and State are currently preparing to make this submission," PJ Crowley Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs told PTI.

On March 23, India and US had announced the conclusion of reprocessing agreement to granting New Delhi advance consent to reprocess spent fuel of US origin and fuel burned in US reactors.

"We believe that there is bipartisan support for the 123 Agreement and we hope that this is a formality," he said when asked about Congressional approval of the reprocessing agreement reached between India and the US, which is a key component of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

As per the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Act, US President must transmit to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and the House's Foreign Affairs Committee a report describing the reasons for the proposed arrangement.

A description (including the text) of the arrangement, and a certification that the US "will pursue efforts to ensure that any other nation that permits India to reprocess or otherwise alter in form or content nuclear material that the nation has transferred to India or nuclear material and by-product material used in or produced through the use of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, or equipment that it has transferred to India requires India to do so under similar arrangements and procedures."

Under the agreement, 30 days of continuous session must elapse after the President has submitted the report.

"The proposed arrangement shall not take effect if Congress adopts a joint resolution of disapproval within this 30-day period," Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in a recent report.

The act requires that such a resolution "be considered pursuant to the procedures set forth in section 130 i" of the Atomic Energy Act.

Notably, advanced consent agreement was just the third such pact ever undertaken by the US with another country.