Manmohan spells out N-separation plan
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Manmohan spells out N-separation plan

Manmohan told Parliament that there would be no capping of the country's strategic programme.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 01:56 IST

Spelling out the separation plan under the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said there would be no capping of the country's strategic programme.

He also said that Washington has assured uninterrupted supply of fuel to Indian reactors under international safeguards.

"India has decided to place under safeguards all future civilian thermal power reactors and civilian breeder reactors, and the Government of India retains the sole right to determine such reactors as civilian," Singh told Parliament.

"This means that India will not be constrained in any way in building future nuclear facilities, whether civilian or military, as per our national requirements," he said.

The Prime Minister's announcement comes within days of India and the US reaching a landmark pact for implementing the July 18, 2005 agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation during the visit of President George W Bush to India.

Dispelling apprehensions of members that the nuclear deal would hamper country's weapons programme, Singh said "there will be no capping of our strategic programme, and the separation plan ensures adequacy of fissile material and other inputs to meet current and future requirements of our strategic programme, based on our assessment of threat scenarios."

In his five-page statement, Singh made it clear that no constraint has been placed on India's right to construct new facilities for strategic purposes.

"The integrity of our Nuclear Doctrine and our ability to sustain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent is adequately protected," he said.

The Prime Minister also informed that the Cirus atomic reactor would be shut down by 2010 and that the fuel core of Apsara reactor would be shifted from its present location and be placed under international safeguards.

"We have decided to take these steps rather than to allow intrusive inspections in a nuclear facility of high national security importance," he said.

"We are determined that such steps will not hinder ongoing research and development," the Prime Minister added.

The two reactors, which launched India's nuclear energy programme, are located at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay near Mumbai.

Giving the salient elements of the plan to separate civilian and military nuclear facilities, Singh said India will identify and offer for IAEA safeguards 14 thermal power reactors between 2006-14.

There are 22 thermal power reactors in operation or currently under construction in the country. Fourteen of these would be placed under safeguards by 2014 in a phased manner.

This would raise the total installed thermal power capacity in megawatts under safeguards from 19 per cent at present to 65 per cent by 2014, he said.

"I wish to emphasise that the choice of specific nuclear reactors and phases in which they would be placed under safeguards is an Indian decision. We are preparing a list of 14 reactors that would be offered for safeguards between 2006-14," the Prime Minister said.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 12:36 IST