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'Nuke deal could set free technological embargoes'

The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission says the deal will further aid the domestic nuclear programme of the country.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2007 14:49 IST

The Indo-US nuclear deal could lead to a possible "unshackling" of technological embargoes, further aiding the domestic nuclear programme of the country, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission has said.

"The possible unshackling of the technology embargo regime that has operated around us for decades without success is a welcome opportunity that we should be able to exploit without any adverse impact on our autonomous domestic research and development and implementation of our three stage nuclear programme," Anil Kakodkar said at a recent function.

Kakodkar said the nation would continue to pursue its three stage development programme for nuclear power.

The government, he said, was aware of the pressing energy needs, and was prepared to bring in additionalities through international civil nuclear co-operation.

The senior scientist, who was among those consulted during the negotiations for the 123 Agreement for the civil nuclear deal, had said on Friday that he could discuss the India-specific safeguards in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference to be held in mid-September in Vienna.

The agreement with IAEA would allow India to deal with countries in the Nuclear Suppliers Group in order to obtain uranium to fuel its nuclear power programme.

Speaking at the function where Tarapur Power Units 3 and 4 were dedicated to the nation, Kakodkar said the fast breeder nuclear plants would be the second stage of the nation's nuclear programme which would allow production of fuel as well as power generation.

"We would produce more fuel, propelling growth without dependence on mining or import of uranium," Kakodkar said.

"Fast reactors would thus enable large scale deployment of thorium based power generation systems which undoubtedly will remain the key element in our search for energy independence based on energy resources available within the country," he said.

India's nuclear power programme is presently dependent on uranium based reactors, but the second stage will involve the development of fast breeder reactors while the third will involve thorium-fuelled reactors.

A committee consisting of members from the UPA and Left are expected to discuss the clauses of the civil nuclear deal while a parliamentary debate is also to take place in the matter.

Speaking at a function in BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) recently, Kakodkar also cautioned that the country needed to be self reliant in its research and development.

"We must preserve and enhance this capability undistracted by the lure of readily external inputs which may bring constraints along with them. Safeguarding our domestic capability programmes has to be the touchstone in dealing with nuclear co-operation in the nuclear area," he said.