US hopeful of resolving nuke commerce stalemate with India

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New Delhi, Nov.18 (ANI): It's been more than a year since the sealing of the 123 agreement between India and the United States, but nuclear commerce between the two countries is yet to become a reality.

The United States has expressed optimism over the commencement of civil nuclear commerce with India, and admits that there is a technical roadblock pertaining to liability, licensing and reprocessing.

United States Ambassador Timothy J Roamer said on Wednesday: "We are pushing hard and are optimistic that issues like civil liability legislation and licensing of US nuclear companies and reprocessing will be resolved soon."

US companies like GE, Westinghouse and others have been asking India to introduce civil liability legislation, which will provide insurance to any kind of losses to their commercial nuclear business interest in India.

The liability legislation is expected to be ratified by the Indian parliament soon.

Both countries also have to zero down on the procedures of reprocessing of spent fuel in a dedicated facility under international safeguard.

According to sources Officials have stepped up efforts to bridge the gap over the reprocessing deal that will enable India to use the spent fuel in a dedicated national facility and final touches are given to the agreement which is likely to be inked between the Indian Prime Minister and the US president in Washington next week.

Roemer said the Indo-US deal brought a lot of trust and confidence into the bilateral relationship and described it as "a win-win situation" for both countries.

India has already signed Nuclear agreements with six countries, including Russia, France , Kazakhstan and Namibia and an agreement on civil nuclear commerce with Canada is imminent.

Ironically, the US which has played a key role in bringing an end to India's nuclear isolation has left behind the commercial aspect due to technicalities. But there is widespread optimism in New Delhi and Washington that next week's meeting could end this deadlock. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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