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India tightens rules for nuclear export
March 13, 2006 13:37 IST
India has tightened rules on export of nuclear equipment and technology in a move that seems to be a fallout of its recent deal with the United States.
Under the new guidelines, nuclear exports can be authorised only when 'the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguard-arrangements are made or assured by the recipient country'.
Furthermore, 'the Department of Atomic Energy should be satisfied that the transfers would not contribute to the development of nuclear weapons or be diverted to acts of nuclear terrorism'.
Each and every application for export shall be scrutinised on case-by-case basis by DAE, the licensing authority. Licenses are subject to recipient states having relevant IAEA safeguards agreement in force and agreeing to on-site verifications (by Indian inspectors).
India also reserves the right to apply additional conditions of supply as a matter of national policy. In addition, the consent of the Government of India should be required for any retransfer of exported items or related technology.
The guidelines prohibit export of certain 'prescribed substances or technologies when there is an unacceptable risk of their diversion to the development of a nuclear device'.
Otherwise, virtually the entire range of nuclear technologies developed by DAE in the last 40 years, including enrichment technology, can be exported if IAEA safeguards are applied to them by recipient nations.
The exportable items, listed under the guidelines, include 'nuclear reactors, fuel reprocessing plants, fuel fabrication plants, uranium enrichment plants, uranium and plutonium conversion facilities, heavy water production plants, tritium recovery plants' and so on. In any case, according to the guidelines, 'the Government of India shall exercise restraint in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology and material usable for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive evices'.
For instance, although enrichment facilities, equipment and technology are included in the list, there are 'special controls' on their export.
According to the guidelines, 'the recipient nation should agree that neither the transferred facility, nor any facility based on such technology, will be designed or operated for the production of greater than 20 per cent enriched uranium without the consent of the Government of India'.
Enrichment is a process by which the content of energy producing Uranium-235 is increased from natural ore stage 0.7 percent. A low enrichment of 3 percent is enough for operating reactors to produce electricity. A bomb needs 90 percent enrichment or more. The DAE has been operating an enrichment facility near Mysore for several years.
Complete coverage: The Indo-US nuclear tango