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N-deal still needs a lot of sanitation: Scientists

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November 17, 2006 17:59 IST

The scientific community on Friday termed as an 'important step' adoption of the Indo-US nuclear deal bill by the US Senate but cautioned that New Delhi should not allow itself to get cornered on certain concerns raised by it on the issue.
Former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and currently a member of the Commission M R Srinivasan told PTI from Ooty: "This is an important step in the entire process in getting on with the Indo-US nuclear deal but it is not the end of the process."

Srinivasan said: "Today's process has shown a strong bipartisan support in cooperation regime with India in nuclear matters. But we have to wait and see if both House and Senate in its joint session in December will take up all the concerns expressed by India through various diplomatic channels."

Former director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre A N Prasad, who was part of International Atomic Energy Agency inspection group on Iraq, said from Bangalore that the passage of the Bill was 'expected.'

"However, the bill, which has so many objectionable points in the current form, are not acceptable to India and requires lot of reconciliation and sanitation," he said.

Former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission P K Iyengar said: "They may have done little amendments in the bill but it does not mean it will favour India in all respects and before the finalisation, a lot of discussions and debate are required."

In his reaction, Srinivasan said: "Although the landmark Indo-US deal was cleared by the Senate after rejecting at least the five killer amendments, including one seeking a cap on India's fissile material production, we have to see the language of it."

"Even in the bilateral agreement '123,' we have to see the language of the American lawyers," he said.

"Hopefully, when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving Holiday recess on December 4 and before the lame-duck session ends two weeks later, we will come to know whether the Americans will take note of our concerns and how subsequently we can work together," Srinivasan said.

Former director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, Placid Rodrigues said the language of the bill cleared by the Senate will have to be seen before a proper could be made.

Observing that the bill has many objectionable points, especially on supply of uranium which is not in favour of India, Prasad said President George W Bush had reportedly committed to India to provide a fail-safe methodology for uninterrupted fuel supply.

In the current form the bill created a hand-to-mouth situation with regard to stockpiling of uranium for the lifetime of a reactor, Prasad said, adding that this would not be acceptable to India.
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