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India to sign IAEA nuke safeguards agreement on Feb 2

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January 31, 2009 03:42 IST

India will next Monday sign a key safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to allow supply of atomic fuel and technology to the country moving a step closer to operationalising its international civil nuclear cooperation after the 34-year-old nuke trade embargo was lifted.

The agreement will be signed in Vienna at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Atomic Energy Department sources said on Friday. The agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog is a pre-condition for the US-led civil nuclear deal to move forward and allow the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group to supply material and technology for India's ambitious nuclear power programme, the sources said.

India's Ambassador Saurab Kumar will sign the inspection agreement which has to be later ratified by New Delhi, they said. Chief Indian negotiator Ravi Grover is already in Vienna to finalise the agreement. He is also working on mandatory additional protocol requirements.

The Department of Atomic Energy said this is an important step to place 14 reactors under IAEA safeguards. This is also the way forward in immediately utilising the already ordered uranium from French power major AREVA, they added.

The imported fuel from AREVA is proposed to be used in the unit two of Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant at Kota, already under safeguards, sources said.

On August 1, 2008, the Board of Governors of the IAEA authorised Director General Mohammed ElBaradei to conclude with India an India-specific safeguards agreement and subsequently implement the ISSA.

A month later, the NSG agreed to lift the ban on nuclear trade with India.

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