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IAEA safeguards draft can't be made public: Kakodkar

July 10, 2008 01:40 IST

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India's Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar on Wednesday came to the defence of the United Progressive Alliance government to blunt Left's strident demand for releasing the nuclear safeguards text that is being negotiated with the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying the draft cannot be made public until it is finalised.

"The text of the draft of the (Indo-US nuclear) agreement with the US is in public domain but what is not is the India-specific safeguards being negotiated with the International Atomic Energy Agency," the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission told the Indian Merchants Chamber in Mumbai.

With the chorus from the Left for revealing the draft text getting loud, the Congress brought in a new dimension saying divulging such a 'confidential' information with the Communist parties could expose the country's nuclear reactors to terror threat. The Left has been pounding the government for weeks for keeping the draft a secret.

"Work on text of safeguards is currently under progress and has to be kept between the two parties while they are discussing it. It cannot be made public," Kakodkar said.

The Minister for External Affairs had shared some points regarding the safeguards but unless it was finalised its details, barring the broader points, should not be made public, Kakodkar said.

Declaring that the Indo-US civil nuclear deal was undisputedly in national interest, he said the energy security of the nation was paramount and all possible means to achieve It, including the use of nuclear energy, was very important.

"All our requirements have been addressed by it (the deal) and that we should move forward with it has been my honest advice," Kakodkar said.

"To bridge the energy gap of the country, we need to see which countries have the resources we require and obtain it," Kakodkar said, adding that the deal would allow India access to nuclear fuel from other countries as well.

India also required the political clout of the US to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the deal was also important for the country to be part of the international nuclear energy trading community, he pointed out.

The country's top nuclear scientist said the country's atomic energy programme was mature enough to take on the world.

"There needs to be no fear of engaging the world in civil nuclear programme to solve our problem of energy requirement," Kakodkar said.

Pointing to the fact that India had been developing new technologies in the arena of nuclear power, the scientist said the strong base of research and development in the strategic and commercial arena would be sustained even after the civil nuclear deal.

The country's three-stage nuclear power programme would not be compromised even after the deal and would be implemented in totality, Kakodkar said.

"By signing the deal, we are not compromising the indigenous three stage power programme," he said.

Acknowledging that there had been problems in setting up mining sites for nuclear fuels in the country, the chairman of the AEC said that more sites were being found and it could help diminish the supply mismatch of uranium for the nuclear power programme.

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