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US, India sign nuclear reprocessing deal

world Updated: Jul 31, 2010 11:58 IST

India and US have signed an agreement on reprocessing of American nuclear spent fuel by India, marking the final steps in terms of implementation of the landmark civil nuclear deal between the two countries.

Upon entry into force, the arrangements and procedures will enable reprocessing by India of the US obligated nuclear material at a new national reprocessing facility to be established by India, dedicated to the reprocessing of safeguarded nuclear material under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

The agreement in this regard was signed on Friday by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns and Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar, at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

"This arrangement, negotiated and concluded under President Obama, reflects the Administration's strong commitment to building successfully on the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative and is a prerequisite for US nuclear fuel suppliers to conduct business with India," the State Department said in a statement.

The Indian Embassy said signing of the Agreement is a significant step which highlights the strong relationship and growing cooperation between the two countries.

It enables reprocessing by India of US-obligated nuclear material under IAEA safeguards and will facilitate participation by US firms in India's rapidly expanding civil nuclear energy sector, the statement said.

"With this we have taken another significant step forward in the implementation of our bilateral agreement for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy," Shankar said in her remarks on the occasion.

The hard and meticulous work done by the Indian and US negotiators that led to the completion of negotiations, well ahead of the stipulated period of one year, Shankar said reflects how the two countries are increasingly getting into the habit of working together.

The signing of this Agreement today, and a few days back, of the Counter-terrorism Cooperation initiative in New Delhi, is a reflection of deepening ties between India and the United States, Shankar said.

The historic bilateral cooperation agreement for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the 123 Agreement, that the two countries signed two years back provided for reprocessing of US obligated nuclear material in an Indian national facility under IAEA safeguards, she said.