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Following the March 2 agreement on the separation of India’s military and civilian nuclear facilities, the United States is moving ahead with its obligation to amend domestic statutes in order to permit nuclear commerce with India. On March 9, the White House sent Capitol Hill the proposed text of an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act that it would like Congress to enact.
But if the administration is hoping to get the AEA amended before the May plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, critics of the deal within the U.S. are also sharpening their swords. David Albright and Susan Basu of the Institute for Science and International Security have just released an 11-page report alleging that India Rare Earths (IRE), an undertaking of the Department of Atomic Energy, has been resorting to clandestine acquisitions for the Rare Materials Plant (RMP) enrichment project at Rattehalli. The Arms Control Association has also come up with a number of objections.
In a subsequent post, I will analyse Albright’s claims about IRE.