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Safeguards agreement unique: Top scientist

July 11, 2008 13:13 IST

The Safeguards Agreement between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a unique document, and fears related to it are grossly exaggerated, a top nuclear scientist has said.

"The IAEA agreement released by the government is a unique document of the IAEA in which an NPT country is conceded virtually the weapon status. It has provisions to the extent possible for the continued supply of nuclear fuel. It also meets all expectations of the country," chairman, Accelerator Safety Committee of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, M R Iyer, said.

Iyer, who was the former head of BARC's Radiation Safety Systems Division and former Instrument Specialist and Inspector of IAEA's Safeguards, also said, "We should not miss this opportunity to open up our nuclear industry to the global mainstream. This is the first time that in any international document that India is conceded a position as a nuclear-weapon state albeit indirectly. There is also a clause for India to take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies."\

"Nowhere it mentions any bar on setting up facilities outside the safeguards using local non-safeguarded resources. No mention of the extended Safeguards Protocols as in the case of NPT states finds a mention," Iyer said, adding that fears expressed about the agreement are grossly exaggerated.

The agreement was framed on the pattern of the Infcirc-66 which India signed for reactors of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) and Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) in 1965 "except for the first few pages", he said. In the introductory part, the agreement concedes the existence of non safeguarded weapon-making facilities in India, Iyer added.

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