USIBC applauds conclusion of US-India reprocessing accord

Terming it as a significant step forward for Indo-US commercial nuclear cooperation, a top bilateral business body today applauded the conclusion of the agreement.

Updated: Mar 29, 2010, 22:35 PM IST

Washington: Terming it as a significant
step forward for Indo-US commercial nuclear cooperation, a top
bilateral business body today applauded the conclusion of the
agreement to grant India advance consent to reprocess spent
fuel of US origin and fuel burned in US reactors.

"The agreement to make India the third reprocessing
partner of the US reflects the special trust and respect that
exists between strategic partners," said Ron Somers, president
the US India Business Council.

"Today`s announcement attests to continuity and
bipartisanship in both countries, and encourages us that
US-India civil nuclear trade is near at hand," he said.

The advanced consent agreement is just the third such
pact ever undertaken by the US with another country.

The US had previously granted similar rights only to
the European consortium EURATOM and Japan, but not to China,
Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea, nor to sixteen other countries
with 123 Agreements.

Finalisation of the reprocessing agreement fulfills an
important provision of the US-India 123 Agreement, which
prescribed deadlines for negotiation of the separate
reprocessing pact.

Under the 123 Agreement, India will construct new
facilities dedicated for reprocessing the safeguarded nuclear
material under IAEA safeguards.

USIBC, supported by the leading US commercial nuclear
suppliers, was instrumental in advocating that the 123
Agreement include advanced consent rights.

Since final congressional approval of the 123
Agreement in October 2008, USIBC has steadfastly promoted
commercial implementation of the historic accord.

"Resolution of two key issues will enable India to
assume a key role in the global commercial nuclear supply
chain," said Ted Jones, director for policy advocacy at USIBC.

"We hope these issues will get early attention, as US
and Indian commercial nuclear firms are eager to partner not
just in India, but in the renaissance of commercial nuclear
power around the world."

The first issue is agreement by the US and Indian
governments on non-proliferation assurances to permit US
licensing for technical exchanges regarding nuclear power.

Delays in these "Part 810 assurances", as they are
known, are currently preventing work by Indian suppliers in
the US as well as collaboration in India, USIBC noted.

The second issue is India`s adoption of a regime to
make nuclear liability predictable, consistent with the
IAEA-sponsored Convention on Supplementary Compensation, USIBC

"A nuclear liability law will not just establish an
effective and assured means for adequate compensation in the
extremely unlikely event of an accident. It will also enable
responsible national and international suppliers to develop
the safest nuclear power programme in India. Contrary to myth,
suppliers from all countries will require a modern nuclear
liability regime in order to participate in the Indian
market," USIBC said.

It urged New Delhi to do its part in terms of quick
passage of the civilian nuclear liability bill by the Indian

Observing that US commercial nuclear companies have
much to offer India as it undertakes an ambitious plan to add
60,000 MW in commercial generating capacity by 2030, USIBC
said the American commercial nuclear industry leads the world
in size, performance, innovation, and engineering.

"The US is by a wide margin the largest generator of
nuclear electric power in the world - with 27 per cent of the
world`s total installed capacity and nearly double the number
of reactors as France.

"The US also produces at roughly 1/2 to 1/3 of the
cost in other major countries. In recent decades, US reactor
companies and civil nuclear engineering companies have
remained at the forefront of innovation and engineering
worldwide," it said.