July 10, 2011 12:17:20 am
A key player behind the India-US civilian nuclear deal and former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission,Anil Kakodkar,said on Saturday that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),wants to amend its rules in an attempt to force India to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
This is obviously their agenda, said Kakodkar after speaking to students and faculty members of 30 colleges on Saturday at RD National College,Bandra. The NSG,which has 46 countries as its members,is concerned about reducing nuclear proliferation and was set up after India exploded its first atomic device in Pokhran in 1974.
The latest guidelines state that only those countries,which have signed the NPT,will be entitled to obtain enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies. This has upset India because at a meeting of the NSG in September 2008,India had got an unprecedented clean waiver that allowed it to buy such technologies despite not being a NPT signatory.
At present,India has four enrichment and reprocessing facilities,but it should import these technologies for expanding its nuclear programme. India signing the NPT is out of question. We must ensure that whatever has been agreed upon will only improve and not reverse the situation. We have to protect our interests. Its a question of being a hard bargainer, Kakodkar said.
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Experts have already said if the NSG has its way,it will be a setback to the India-US nuclear deal that allows India to participate in global nuclear trade. While the new rule does not bar India from getting foreign nuclear reactors,it will prohibit the transfer of ENR technologies.
The gathering of college students and nucler experts of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) was a first-of-its-kind event. It was organised by R D National College,WA Science College and DAE. Talking about the controversies surrounding EPR that India plans to import for the Jaitapur project,Kakodkar urged students to shed the foreign complex,emphasising Indias nuke reactors have set the benchmark for foreign reactors.
While questions were raised about the safety of the Jaitapur project and whether so many reactors at one place will compound the risk,Kakodkar said such a project has economic and operational advantages. We must make sure that if an accident takes place in a reactor,it doesnt propagate to another. Hence,what we need to do (at Jaitapur) is to ensure that the common shared facilities are minimised.
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