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India must next ratify the agreement and then file a separate Declaration and Notification before any additional Indian reactor goes under safeguards…
31 January 2009
India to sign IAEA safeguards agreement
New Delhi: India will sign its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Monday but several months are likely to elapse before any additional Indian reactor goes under international safeguards, officials told The Hindu.
The India-specific safeguards agreement was unanimously approved by the IAEA’s Board of Governors on August 1 and will enter into force only after it has been signed and the appropriate letters of ratification exchanged. India’s Ambassador to the Agency, Saurabh Kumar, will formally sign the agreement on February 2. The ratification process will take longer.
Even after entering into force, however, Indian facilities will go under safeguards in a phased manner linked to New Delhi’s determination that “all conditions conducive to the accomplishment of the objective of this Agreement are in place.” Only following this ‘declaration’ and subsequent ’notification,’ will the civilian nuclear facilities India intends to safeguard be listed in an annex to the agreement and then be subject to inspection by the IAEA.
Indian officials say this process will be calibrated to the signing of lifetime fuel supply arrangements for each of the reactors to be safeguarded.
To date, India has only signed an agreement with the French firm Areva for the supply of 300 tonnes of natural uranium. This fuel has been earmarked for the RAPS-2 pressurised heavy water reactor at Rawatbhata, which is already under a long-standing safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
Other supply agreements for larger quantities of uranium are in the pipeline with Kazakhstan and Russia.