New Delhi: India and the United States have unveiled the text of the operating agreement for their controversial civilian nuclear technology sharing deal.
The agreement, which took two years to complete, spells out how a plan for the U.S to share nuclear technology with India will work, including thorny issues like reprocessing rights and the creation of a fuel reserve for India.
The 123 agreement says India and the US will engage in full civil nuclear cooperation activities covering nuclear reactors and aspects of the associated nuclear fuel cycle including technology transfer on an industrial or commercial scale between the governments or authorised persons.
The agreement will be implemented in a manner that does not hinder or interfere with India’s nuclear programme for military purposes developed independent of the civil nuclear deal.
Under the agreement, India can develop strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of its reactors
The 22-page agreement provides for termination of nuclear cooperation with one-year notice period but prior to that the two sides will hold consultations on the circumstances, including changed security environment, that may lead to the cessation. For the complete document click here.
The US Congress in December approved legislation allowing U.S exports of civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India for the first time in 30 years, a move intended to reverse sanctions on the Asian giant for its nuclear tests.
The operating agreement goes one step further, allowing India to reprocess spent fuel under safeguards by the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The pact outlines the safeguards India will have to put into place for the reactors that will benefit from the technology. The deal also addresses Pakistan’s concerns, ruling out the use of any transferred nuclear material for nuclear explosives devices or for military purposes.
It runs for an initial term of 40 years but can be terminated by either party before that with a year’s notice. The whole accord has to win the approval of the US Congress and the Indian parliament.
India first has to negotiate a “safeguards” agreement with the IAEA and gain the support of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The deal could open up a whopping $100 billion in opportunities for American businesses, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.