Nuclear Deal: Top scientists appeal to MPs to stop Govt

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New Delhi, Jul 18 (UNI) With just three days left for the crucial trust vote on the nuclear deal in Parliament, three top nuclear scientists of the country today appealed to the Members of Parliament to prevent the Government from proceeding to seek IAEA Board approval for the draft safeguards agreement, ''until its implications were debated more fully within the country.'' The MPs should ask the Prime Minister to initiate wide-ranging and structured deliberations on the Indo-US Nuclear Co-operation Agreement, both within Parliament and outside, to develop a broad consensus among political parties and the general public before proceeding any further, said the scientists in a statement.

The appeal was signed by Dr P K Iyengar, Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and Dr A N Prasad , Former Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

''At this critical juncture, when the Government is about to rush the safeguards agreement through the IAEA, there is a great deal of disquiet among the scientific community at large in this country,'' they asked.

Should the country be entering into such a long term binding arrangement without a detailed and rigorous examination of the IAEA Safeguards? Should a Government, based at best on a wafer thin majority and a divided Parliament, commit the country in this manner?,'' they said.

The government was enthusiastically pushing the Deal on the basis that it would bring about energy security to India, since it would enable the import of foreign nuclear power reactors, but, analysts had convincingly and quantitatively shown that this additional power would come at a much higher cost per unit of electricity compared to conventional coal or hydro power, which India can generate without any foreign import, said the scientists.

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