HT Image
HT Image

Life in the nuclear lane

Let down once by the US, India’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA makes sure there is never a shortage of fuel for its reactors, reports Pramit Pal Chaudhuri.
By Pramit Pal Chaudhuri | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2008 02:22 AM IST

The safeguards agreement between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency was released to the public on Thursday.

The text acknowledges the unique nuclear category India will occupy if the Indo-US nuclear deal is completed – that of a recognised nuclear power who has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The preamble refers to India as “a state with advanced nuclear technology”.

“This is essentially an extension of the existing 66 facility-specific safeguards that India currently has in place,” said Anupam Srivastava, a nonproliferation expert at the University of George. “It is India specific.” And it is wholly different from what non-nuclear weapon states have to agree to.

Sources say the IAEA’s board of governors will convene in Vienna between July 28-30 to debate and vote on the agreement.

The safeguards are the least political and most technical of the four negotiated texts that the nuclear deal has generated so far. Its ultimate origins lie in a past incident of US nuclear betrayal. “This is about laying the ghost of Tarapur to rest,” said a diplomat.

The agreement’s core arose from the insistence of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) that there be concurrent responsibilities: if India placed its civilian nuclear facilities under perpetual safeguards than it had to have iron-clad assurances of perpetual fuel supplies.

The safeguards accomplish this task by authorising India to negotiate with other countries for “reliable, uninterrupted and continuous access to fuel supplies” and supporting Indian efforts to “develop a strategic reserve.” In other words, if the US does a future flip-flop, Russia and France can cite this agreement to step in and save the day.

India is also allowed to “take corrective measures” if overseas nuclear fuel supplies are disrupted in anyway.

An additional clause addresses the DAE’s fears that international inspectors may steal ideas from its precious three-step thorium cycle.

Thus, the inspectors must take “every precaution to protect commercial and industrial secrets” and keep their paws off technology and components indigenously developed by India. In India, the opposition has argued the text falls short on supply guarantees. This forgets the IAEA does not provide nuclear fuel, it only allows countries to do so. The US nonproliferation lobby has denounced the vagueness of the “corrective measures” clause arguing it could allow India to unsafeguard its facilities. Indian officials say they chose broad language because of an inability to predict future problems. “Like an insurance policy, you can’t predict if you’ll be felled by a heart attack or cancer,” said an official involved in the negotiations.

A bogey is being made of the lack of reactor names in the annexe, but these will be added when the agreement is actually signed — which will only follow US congressional approval.

As DAE was the lead negotiator for the safeguards agreement and the text would not have been released without its permission, the only Indian agency that matters has by default given the safeguards agreement a green light.

“At 23 pages, the safeguards agreement is a testament to the good standing of India with the IAEA. China’s agreement is over 50 pages. The US’s runs over 100,” says Srivastava.

In the context of the Indo-US nuclear deal, however, it is the approval of the IAEA board of governors that matters. If a majority of the board fails to approve the agreement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group cannot even consider asking its members to join the US in waiving the nuclear sanctions that India faces.

Indian officials are relatively optimistic about the chances of approval by the IAEA. It requires only a majority vote by the board. However, the vote will be an early test of the degree of international support for the deal — which will be crucial to the NSG where the waiver requires unanimous support.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Delhi Dy CM and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia (L) with party leader Sanjay Singh (R).(PTI)
Delhi Dy CM and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia (L) with party leader Sanjay Singh (R).(PTI)

AAP's Sanjay Singh receives death threat call, police complaint lodged

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 05:39 AM IST
Sharing the copy of the police complaint on his Twitter handle, the AAP leader said that he will not get intimidated by such threats and urged the Delhi police to take action on it.
Close
Mahipal Singh, a ward boy at the Moradabad district hospital, got the Covishield vaccine on Saturday, the first-day of India’s Covid-19 immunisation drive.(PTI)
Mahipal Singh, a ward boy at the Moradabad district hospital, got the Covishield vaccine on Saturday, the first-day of India’s Covid-19 immunisation drive.(PTI)

A day after jab UP man dies, officials say no link to vaccine

By HT Correspondent, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 05:26 AM IST
On Monday, Moradabad chief medical officer Dr MC Garg denied the family’s allegations and said the post-mortem report found “cardio pulmonary disease” as the cause of the death. “Mahipal Singh died of cardiac arrest; it has nothing to do with the Covid-19 vaccine.” said Garg.
Close
A Border Security Force (BSF) official said that a decision is yet to be taken on whether the coordinated parade with Pakistan will be held this year or not.
A Border Security Force (BSF) official said that a decision is yet to be taken on whether the coordinated parade with Pakistan will be held this year or not.

No spectators at Wagah border on Jan 26, BSF yet to take call on parade

By HT Correspondent, Amritsar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 05:19 AM IST
BSF officials say decision on conducting coordinated parade with Pakistan at joint check post will be taken soon
Close
The IAF’s solitary Rafale squadron will add more muscle with the arrival of at least three more fighter jets by the end of the month.(REUTERS)
The IAF’s solitary Rafale squadron will add more muscle with the arrival of at least three more fighter jets by the end of the month.(REUTERS)

Rafale jets to debut in Republic Day flypast

By Rahul Singh, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 05:11 AM IST
The Rafales, whose induction into the IAF began last September and is work in progress, are taking part in the flypast for the first time. A woman fighter pilot will also participate in the parade for the first time.
Close
The Indian government has stepped up construction of border infrastructure, including roads and bridges, in response to China’s “construction work along the border areas”, the external affairs ministry said.(REUTERS)
The Indian government has stepped up construction of border infrastructure, including roads and bridges, in response to China’s “construction work along the border areas”, the external affairs ministry said.(REUTERS)

‘Keep constant watch’: India amid Chinese breach report

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 04:20 AM IST
The ministry said in a statement that India had “seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along the border areas”. The government is committed to creating infrastructure along border areas to improve the livelihood of citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh, the statement said.
Close
"The Covax facility was set-up to ensure that there was equitable access to vaccines against Covid-19", says Anuradha Gupta
"The Covax facility was set-up to ensure that there was equitable access to vaccines against Covid-19", says Anuradha Gupta

‘Will provide 200 million doses to India for first phase’: Gavi deputy CEO

By Rhythma Kaul, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 04:09 AM IST
"The arrangement is 20% of Gavi’s total support will be provided to India, which comes to about 200 million doses. It will cost Gavi about $1.4 billion. Gavi will also provide $30 million for technical assistance.", says Anuradha Gupta.
Close
"We will need as many vaccine shots as we can get because the number of people we need to vaccinate is humongous." says director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Dr Randeep Guleria
"We will need as many vaccine shots as we can get because the number of people we need to vaccinate is humongous." says director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Dr Randeep Guleria

‘Infodemic on side effects has created anxiety’: Dr. Randeep Guleria

By Anonna Dutt, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 03:59 AM IST
"To be honest, early on, health care workers were very keen to get the vaccine. Then, because of the infodemic, because of the things doing the rounds on social media, because of the side effects being highlighted as more than what they were, it created a lot of anxiety", says Dr. Randeep Guleria
Close
As a matter of principle, said the bench, the apex court should not interfere when there are concurrent findings by all the subordinate courts.(PTI)
As a matter of principle, said the bench, the apex court should not interfere when there are concurrent findings by all the subordinate courts.(PTI)

SC hints at avoiding cases with concurrent decisions

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 04:11 AM IST
Justice Sanjay K Kaul, heading a three-judge-bench, made this avowal while asserting that there has to be an end to appeals against every order passed by subordinate courts. The bench also included justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy.
Close
A further eight states reported fewer than 100 new infections(Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)
A further eight states reported fewer than 100 new infections(Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)

India's daily tally of new Covid cases less than 10,000 first time since June 9

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:09 AM IST
While these numbers correspond to tests done on a Sunday, when less testing is done, they underscore the trend that the outbreak has been receding.
Close
The unions are planning a rally on January 26 comprising tens of thousands of farmers to push for the repeal of the three laws.(PTI)
The unions are planning a rally on January 26 comprising tens of thousands of farmers to push for the repeal of the three laws.(PTI)

Farmers' protest: SC refuses to step in on Republic Day tractor rally

By Utkarsh Anand, Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:03 AM IST
Declining to pass any order on a plea by Delhi Police, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said it was not for the court to remind the authorities of their policing power by passing an order.
Close
India is administering two vaccines as part of the first phase of Covid-19 immunisation covering roughly 30 million health care and other frontline workers.(AFP)
India is administering two vaccines as part of the first phase of Covid-19 immunisation covering roughly 30 million health care and other frontline workers.(AFP)

580 adverse events reported in three days of vaccination

By Rhythma Kaul, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 01:52 AM IST
“So far, cumulative 580 AEFI have been reported, of which seven needed hospitalisation,” said Manohar Agnani, additional secretary, Union health ministry.
Close
The government said that between Saturday morning and 5pm on Monday, 381,305 people were given doses in 7,704 sessions.(ANI)
The government said that between Saturday morning and 5pm on Monday, 381,305 people were given doses in 7,704 sessions.(ANI)

Covid-19 vaccination drive hit by hesitancy hurdle

By Rhythma Kaul, Anonna Dutt, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 01:39 AM IST
The turnout dipped from 4,319 on Saturday to 3,593 on Monday in the national capital. At AIIMS in Delhi, only eight people were vaccinated on Monday, an official said, while asking not to be named. Officials said concerns over the vaccines’ safety appear to have deterred many people.
Close
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh will meet senior officials of his department to decide on a future course of action.(HT PHOTO)
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh will meet senior officials of his department to decide on a future course of action.(HT PHOTO)

Probe purported chats between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta: MVA partners

PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:32 AM IST
  • The NCP demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the leaked WhatsApp chats, the Congress sought a probe under the Official Secrets Act and the Shiv Sena said demanded action against Arnab Goswami for breach of internal security.
Close
Deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “The voters voted in favour of the MVA. Ruling parties fought in cooperation and it resulted in the combined victory."(HT File Photo)
Deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “The voters voted in favour of the MVA. Ruling parties fought in cooperation and it resulted in the combined victory."(HT File Photo)

MVA gains, but BJP may emerge as largest party in Maha panchayat polls

PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:27 AM IST
The BJP won about 2,600 gram panchayats, followed by the Sena, which won 2,570 of the 11,800 panchayats whose results were declared late on Monday evening. The NCP and Congress bagged 2,400 and 1,825 panchayats respectively, while local panels and independents won over 2,335 panchayats.
Close
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan displays a vial of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.(Bloomberg Photo )
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan displays a vial of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.(Bloomberg Photo )

Govt assesses supply of Covid-19 vaccines to neighbours, developing countries

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:18 AM IST
  • Several countries have either signed agreements or are in talks with Serum Institute or Bharat Biotech, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Morocco.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP