India begins safeguards talks with IAEA

22 November 2007

Top Indian officials are in Vienna, Austria for meetings with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over specific measures to ensure nuclear power materials in India are used for only peaceful purposes.

Head of India's Department of Atomic Energy, Anil Kakodkar, met IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, on 21 November at the IAEA building in Vienna. They will discuss methods by which the IAEA would be able to ensure the security of nuclear materials in India and the complete separation of India's nuclear power sector from its nuclear weapons program.

This safeguardings process is essential to bringing India into the mainstream of the global nuclear industry. In particular, an India-specific safeguards agreement would be required for the bilateral trade deal between India and the USA.

India has enjoyed some international nuclear trade in recent years with Russia, whose companies are building two pressurized water reactors at Kudankulam. However, India has been told that no more business can be conducted under that particular deal because it was made on the assumption that IAEA safeguards would soon be in place.

Since 2005 the USA has been the driving force behind mainstreaming India and President George Bush agreed a nuclear cooperation text with prime minister Manmohan Singh. That deal is currently mired in Indian politics, but is likely to be revived in coming months, with successful conclusion to these IAEA-India talks being seen as a major motivating factor.

Further information

WNA's Nuclear Power in India information paper

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