US, India formally sign

US, India formally sign nuclear reprocessing pact

* Deal will enable Indian reprocessing of nuclear material under IAEA safeguards

WASHINGTON: The United States and India formally signed an agreement on reprocessing used nuclear fuel that US officials hope will allow American firms a share of India’s $150-billion nuclear energy market.

The agreement, signed by US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns and Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar, will enable Indian reprocessing of US-originated nuclear material under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

It is a part of the countries’ 2008 bilateral civilian atomic pact that ended India’s nuclear isolation after its 1974 atomic test. The pact gave India access to US technology and fuel, while also opening up the global nuclear market to India.

“Increased civil nuclear trade with India will create thousands of new jobs for the US economy while helping India to meet its rising energy needs in an environmentally responsible way by reducing the growth of carbon emissions,” the US State Department said in a press release.

The pact between the two nations is expected to enter into force in early August. But a hurdle remains before US firms are expected to begin participating in the Indian nuclear market. The US firms are reluctant to do business in India without legislation that underwrites their compensation liability in the case of industrial accidents. reuters

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