India, France finalise civil nuclear cooperation pact

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Paris, Sept.30 : Ending 34 years of nuclear trade isolation, India and France today finalized a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation, covering the supply of reactors and atomic fuel.

The agreement is to be initialled this afternoon after summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

They will form the basis of wide ranging bilateral cooperation from basic and applied research to full civil nuclear cooperation including reactors and fuel supplies, nuclear safety, radiation and environment protection and nuclear fuel cycle management.

The atomic pact comes three weeks after the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted a crucial waiver to enable New Delhi to conduct global nuclear trade.

The atomic pact is one of the three agreements to be signed during Singh's two-day visit to Paris. The other two relates to social security matters which will benefit Indian and French nationals staying in each others countries on short duration up to five years.

India and France have decided to give a new impetus to their cooperation for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as an expression of their strategic partnership, officials said.

They said both sides recognize that as a reliable source of sustainable and non-polluting energy, it could make a significant contribution to meeting the global challenge of achieving energy security.

The officials also noted that both the countries share common concerns and objectives in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery including in view of possible linkages to terrorism. By Naveen Kapoor

ANI

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