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N-scientists welcome decision to approach IAEA
November 16, 2007 21:29 IST
The country's nuclear scientists on Friday described the government's decision to approach the IAEA for safeguard talks after the Left's green signal as a positive step towards international cooperation.
The government could now apply officially to hold formal discussions with IAEA regarding India-specific safeguards for its future civilian nuclear power plants so that an agreed text could be prepared as early as possible, Department of Atomic Energy officials said.
Since India is already having `item specific'(for facility and for material) safeguards which is generic in nature , the India-specific safeguards for all its civilian nuclear plants (as per the separation plan) could be on the same lines, said officials who did not want to be quoted.
All future Indian nuclear plants under the civilian domain could be placed under the IAEA safeguards mechanism that could be almost on par with that for the five declared nuclear powers.
Without creating India-specific safeguards, IAEA sources indicated that in all probability, they could be placed under the Agency's safeguards system called Information circular (INSCIRC) of 1966. This is in contrast to INSCIRC 153 which is meant for those who signed nuclear non-proliferation treaty and non-weapon countries.
That means, India can benefit from the safeguards mechanism, which is reactor-specific and utility-specific and would be closer to the five nuclear weapon (P-5) countries and not as a non-weapon state (country), they said.
This could be essentially on the same lines as that of the safeguards arrangement made between India and IAEA for two units of the Tarapur atomic power plant set up in 1969 and two units in Rajasthan in 1971.
When asked how long the process will take to make the agreed text and the final text on safeguards for the future civilian nuke plants, A N Prasad, former BARC director and a special envoy for IAEA, said the main agreement should not be very difficult.
"But since India has to island our strategic programme, we should insist on Hybrid Safeguard Arrangement," Prasad said.
Also when details will be discussed, there could be some delay as India has to very carefully draft the safeguards, which are acceptable to IAEA and should be in tune with Indian interests. Of, course, all imported reactors will be under safeguards, he said.