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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
India-US nuclear details released
Bhabha reactor in India
India would be able to use US technology in its nuclear facilities
India and the United States have released details of how they intend to share civilian nuclear technology.

The details are part of a deal agreed between the two countries over the last two years. They cover issues like reprocessing rights and fuel reserves.

A statement released by both sides last week described the agreement as a "historic milestone".

The deal guarantees India fuel supplies for its civilian programme, and allows it to reprocess spent fuel.

"The United States will support an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of India's reactors," the text says.

NUCLEAR POWER IN INDIA
India has 14 reactors in commercial operation and nine under construction
Nuclear power supplies about 3% of India's electricity
By 2050, nuclear power is expected to provide 25% of the country's electricity
India has limited coal and uranium reserves
Its huge thorium reserves - about 25% of the world's total - are expected to fuel its nuclear power programme long-term
Source: Uranium Information Center

The details released on Friday are certain to be well-received in India, which has been granted many of the demands it has made to the US during two years of negotiations.

Experts say that the right to stockpile fuel and the right to reprocess fuel is a key step towards developing nuclear weapons.

However, the deal stipulates that reprocessing can only take place at a facility safeguarded by UN inspectors to prevent it from being used in bombs.

The US is keen to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation around the world and is especially eager to prevent Iran from developing its capacity.

Unclear

It is not yet clear how the deal will be received in the US - the text released on Friday does not say for example what will happen if India carries out another nuclear weapons test after the last one in 1998.

But it does state that if the fuel supply from the US is for any reason cut off in future - possibly because of an Indian test - Washington would help find third countries to supply Indian reactors.

The deal reverses three decades of American anti-proliferation policy and formalises a warmer relationship between two former Cold war adversaries.

COUNTDOWN TO AGREEMENT
US President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
July 2005: India and the US announce the deal
March 2006: Deal "finalised" in Delhi during visit of US President George W Bush
July 2006: US House of Representatives approves deal
November 2006: US Senate votes in favour of deal
July 2007: US and India finalise negotiations

Correspondents say much what is in the text of the so-called 1-2-3 agreement released Friday has already been revealed by officials in Delhi and Washington.

Last week the two countries announced that they had finalised the technical agreement, and were only waiting to brief lawmakers before formally unveiling it.

Before the deal goes ahead, India also needs to make separate agreements with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an assembly of nations that export nuclear material.

Both India and the US insist the deal is only about cooperation in civil nuclear energy, not the balance of power in the region.

But Pakistan has warned that the accord threatens regional stability, saying it would allow its arch rival to produce more atomic bombs.




SEE ALSO
Indian cabinet backs nuclear deal
25 Jul 07 |  South Asia
Doubts over US-India nuclear deal
18 May 07 |  South Asia
Mid-terms fallout on nuclear deal
09 Nov 06 |  South Asia
US panel backs India nuclear deal
28 Jun 06 |  South Asia
Bush hails partnership with India
03 Mar 06 |  South Asia
Atomic agency hails US-India deal
02 Mar 06 |  South Asia

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