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Home > News > Report

No nuclear fuel if India tests: US

August 03, 2007 08:59 IST

Asserting it has the right to ask for return of nuclear fuel transferred by it in the event of India conducting a nuclear test, the United States has said it would not help New Delhi find alternative sources of fuel in that case.

"That's absolutely false," Nicholas Burns, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, told The Capital when asked about such an understanding in its civilian nuclear deal agreement with India.

"We preserved intact the right under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that if India or any other country conducts a nuclear test, the president will have the right to ask for return of the nuclear fuel or nuclear technologies transferred by American firms," he said.

He further said that the United States has carefully considered the right of reprocessing and that a subsequent agreement between Washington and New Delhi is subject to review by Congress.

"We agreed to do so (grant reprocessing rights) finally because the Indians agreed to construct a state-of-the-art processing facility and all the foreign fuel shipped into India will go through that plant to be reprocessed. It will be fully safeguarded by the IAEA," he said.

"Also the US law states that while we can promise reprocessing consent rights, we have to negotiate a subsequent agreement. We will do that and Congress will have the right to review that agreement," he added.

The senior State Department official who was a top negotiator in the so-called 123 Agreement maintained that the accord reached with India is a "technical" one and hence does not deal with such issues as Iran.