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U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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India, which has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty NPT and does not have International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear material in peaceful nuclear activities, exploded a peaceful nuclear device in 1974, convincing the world of the need for greater restrictions on nuclear trade. The United States created the Nuclear Suppliers Group NSG as a direct response to Indias test, halted nuclear exports to India a few years later, and worked to convince other states to do the same. India tested nuclear weapons again in 1998. However, President Bush announced July 18, 2005, he would work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India and would also seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies, in the context of a broader, global partnership with India. However, several steps remain before U.S. companies can start nuclear trade with India. For example, P.L. 110-369 requires that, before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can issue licenses for U.S. nuclear exports to India, the President must determine and certify to Congress that New Delhis IAEA safeguards agreement has entered into force and that Indias declaration of its nuclear facilities to the agency is not materially inconsistent with the facilities and schedule described in a separation plan that New Delhi provided to Washington. Indias safeguards agreement entered into force in May 2009, and New Delhi has filed the declaration with the IAEA. The President, however, has not submitted the required certifications to Congress. Furthermore, U.S. firms will likely be very reluctant to engage in nuclear trade with India if the government does not become party to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which has not yet entered into force. India also is reportedly insisting that New Delhi and Washington conclude an agreement on a reprocessing facility in India before New Delhi signs contracts with U.S. nuclear firms.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particle Physics

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