Page last updated at 04:51 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 05:51 UK

India gives nuclear plans to IAEA

India's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, located 30km from Mumbai (Bombay)
India would get access to US civilian nuclear technology

India has submitted its plans for safeguarding its civilian nuclear facilities to the world nuclear regulatory body.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) approval of the plan is a key condition for putting into effect a nuclear deal between India and US.

Left-wing parties in India have pulled out of the governing coalition in protest against the deal.

The government says it is needed to meet soaring energy demands.

India is under pressure from Washington to sign the accord before the US presidential elections in November.

Reports say a restricted draft of India's plans for safeguarding nuclear facilities has been given to IAEA's 35 member nations ahead of a meeting to approve the agreement.

'Big problem'

Daryl Kimball of the Washington-based Arms Control Association told Reuters news agency that there were several points in the draft that appear to restrict international monitoring of India's atomic programme.

He said the draft says India may "take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies".

Fuel supplies could be disrupted only if India were to resume testing nuclear weapons, experts say.

"Does this mean that India intends to withdraw from what are supposed to be permanent safeguards if it tests and other states decide to terminate fuel supplies?" Mr Kimball said.

"If so, that is a big problem and the Indian government has not clarified what it means."

The US had restricted nuclear co-operation with India - which has not signed the 1972 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - since it first tested a nuclear weapon in 1974.

Under the terms of the nuclear accord, India would get access to US civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

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

In return, Delhi would open its civilian nuclear facilities to inspection - but its nuclear weapons sites would remain off-limits.

US President George W Bush has spoken again of the importance of the deal in talks with Indian PM Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Japan on Wednesday.

Critics of the deal fear assistance to India's civil programme could free-up additional radioactive material for bomb-making purposes.

The deal now needs to be approved by the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which regulates global civilian nuclear trade.

Separately, Mr Singh is due to meet the Indian president to discuss political developments arising out of the left-wing parties' withdrawal of support to the government.

The communists, who command 59 seats in the lower house of parliament, formally withdrew support for the government on Wednesday after it vowed to press ahead with the agreement.

The Congress-led government is hoping that a regional party will help them survive a vote of confidence and fend off early elections.

India left gives nuclear deadline
04 Jul 08 |  South Asia
US warning on India nuclear deal
05 Mar 08 |  South Asia

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