India denies putting all n-reactors under safeguards

Saturday, December 4, 2010

NEW DELHI - India Saturday said it voted for a proposal to create a fuel bank by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but asserted that in doing so, it has not put all its nuclear reactors under safeguards.

“There is no question of India agreeing to put all its n-reactors under safeguards, said Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of the external affairs ministry.

The spokesperson rejected a report published in the Indian Express Saturday that said India has for the first time agreed to put all its nuclear reactors under international safeguards by voting for an IAEA proposal to create an international fuel bank.

Explaining its decision to vote for the IAEA resolution, New Delhi clarified that while doing so it had stated its principled position at the IAEA board in Vienna Friday.

In its official explanation of the vote, India said: “As a country with well established high level capabilities over the entire fuel cycle and a sizeable pool of highly qualified and trained manpower, India is prepared to supplement international efforts for sustainable growth of nuclear energy while addressing proliferation concerns.”

“As a country with advanced nuclear technology, India would like to participate as a supplier state in such initiatives.”

“As stated on other occasions as well, we believe that there is considerable potential in the use of thorium based fuels in existing light water reactors with the aim of realizing proliferation resistant use of fissile material with higher energy output, India’s envoy to Vienna Dinkar Khullar had said.

“India has contributed actively to the debate amongst member states on possible options for assurance of supply of nuclear fuel. We are of the view that fuel bank arrangements should be available to all IAEA member states which require such arrangements, the Indian envoy said.

He had vigorously defended the right of any member state to carry out research and development on nuclear fuel cycles for peaceful purposes.

“We also believe that artificial restrictions should not be imposed on supplier states which are in a position to support such fuel supply arrangements,” the envoy said.

New Delhi had told the IAEA board that India is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that requires all signatories to the NPT to accept comprehensive safeguard regime.

“India is not a party to the NPT. India therefore is not bound by the decisions of the NPT Review Conference. Nothing in the resolution can derogate the rights of member states of the IAEA as provided in its statute,” Khullar said.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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