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Indian American appointed to US N-trade committee

January 17, 2011 10:54 IST

Srinagar-born Dr Vijay Sazawal, 64, of Bethesda, Maryland, who has over 35 years of professional experience in the nuclear industry covering the entire fuel cycle, has been appointed by United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to serve on the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee for a period of two years.

In a letter to Sazawal, appointing him to CINTAC, Locke said the Committee "will advise me on trade issues facing the US civil nuclear industry for use by me and other Department of Commerce officials in our roles as members of the Civil Nuclear Trade Working Group of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee."

"CINTAC will provide consensus advice on the development and administration of programmes and policies to expand US civil nuclear exports and strengthen the competitiveness of the industry," Locke noted in his missive to Sazawal.

Sazawal, currently, Director of Government Programs at USEC, Inc, a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants worldwide, told rediff.com, "I am thankful to Secretary Locke to selecting me to join CINTAC," and spoke of his more than three decades of experience in the industry where "I have participated in the US civilian and defense nuclear programs covering the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and an array of reactor designs that have included conventional and space based reactors, and black programmes."

He recalled that "when the United States and India, during the Bush administration, began to negotiate a civil nuclear agreement, my input and advice was sought by the US State Department and the Department of Energy, and I was actually involved briefly in 'Track-2' discussions preceding the completion of the 123 agreement with India."

Sazawal said, "I have since participated in the promotion of US nuclear export trade and given technical lectures to the legal community advising companies on nuclear export controls. Therefore, this appointment is a logical culmination of my efforts in the last few years to help US exports in civil nuclear trade to India and other major markets in the world."

At USEC, which he joined in 2002, in his capacity as director of programs funded or supported by the US government, Sazawal provides corporate program oversight and coordination of various government projects. He analyses the impact of federal budgets, policies and regulations of various USEC activities, and interfaces with federal officials and with members of the US Congress. He is a member of the management team involved in the American Centrifuge Project, the leading initiative by USEC to build state-of-the-art centrifuge nuclear enrichment plants based on American technology.

Prior to joining USEC, Sazawal worked at COGEMA Inc, now Areva NC, for seven years as vice president of engineering and technology. In that position, he was responsible for strategic business development, establishing corporate alliances, and management of company marketing and sales force dealing with the nuclear back-end fuel cycle activities, including spent fuel management, wet and dry storage, wet and dry storage, transportation, reprocessing, and disposal of geological repositories.

Sazawal, who came to the US in 1970 for post-graduate studies, completed his doctoral degree in structural mechanics from the Michigan Technological University in 1975, and almost immediately joined Westinghouse Electric Corporation in the Advanced Reactors Division as part of the design and technology team working on the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project.

He was with Westinghouse for 20 years during which time he rose through successive management positions with responsibility for fast reactors, advanced terrestrial and space reactors, nuclear defense programs, and US government programs to promote safety upgrades of Russian built reactors in Central and Eastern Europe. He was part of the Westinghouse transition team that took over management and operation of the Savannah River Site from Dupont Company in 1989.

Sazawal graduated from the Tyndale Biscoe Memorial High School and the Amar Singh College and holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Banaras Hindu University and a master's in technology in materials engineering from the College of Technology in Bhopal.

He is a member of the Sigma Xi, the American Academy of Mechanics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Nuclear Society and has published widely authoring several technical papers and articles.

Being a Kashmiri Pandit himself, Sazawal is also a longtime advocate on behalf of the Kashmir Pandits who have been driven from their homes in Kashmir and is the co-founder of the Indian American Kashmir Forum and has lobbied feverishly on Capitol Hill to being the attention of US lawmakers the sorry plight of the Pandits.

He was among those Kashmiri Pandits instrumental over a decade ago in urging then US Congressman and now US Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, to take up the violation of human rights of the Pandits with the State Department and include the plight of the Pandits in the Department's annual compendium of human rights worldwide report.

Image: Dr Vijay Sazawal

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC