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UN nuclear watchdog approves India safeguards agreement

UN nuclear watchdog approves India safeguards agreement

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei
The United Nations atomic watchdog today approved an agreement to extend nuclear safeguards over India’s civilian nuclear reactors.

The 22-page framework calls on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that certain declared Indian nuclear material and facilities are used only for peaceful purposes.

In his address to the Board of Governors, the Director General of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei said the agency would begin to implement the new safeguards agreement in 2009, with the aim of bringing a total of 14 Indian reactors under agency safeguards by 2014. The IAEA currently applies safeguards to six Indian nuclear reactors under existing agreements.

“The ‘umbrella’ nature of this agreement provides a more efficient mechanism for ensuring that safeguards requirements can be met. It satisfies India’s needs while maintaining all the agency’s legal requirements,” Dr. ElBaradei

The text of the safeguards agreement was finalized after several rounds of consultations between India and the IAEA which began in November 2007.

Last year Dr. ElBaradei welcomed an announcement that India – which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – and the United States had reached a deal on nuclear cooperation.