Nuke trade: Russia looking for an early bird advantage with India

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New Delhi, Dec.14 (ANI): With the reprocessing agreement with United States still in the works and practical implementation of Indo-US nuclear trade looking far fetched, Russia is looking forward to securing an early bird advantage.

Russia today said that working with it in the field of nuclear cooperation will be much more easier for India because its internal laws on reprocessing are not as strict as the United States.

Talking to reporters here, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said:"It will be much easier to work with us. We don't have domestic restrictions for that, unlike America."

Moscow is looking to set up six to eight new nuclear reactors at a site allocated in West Bengal, besides six reactors it is building in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu under two separate arrangements. It is also looking forward to the allotment of a third site and to India ordering more reactors.

Kadakin said: "We are giving high priority to nuclear coperation with India," and urged New Delhi to place its orders fast.

He said that if time was wasted, "then our companies are full with orders from other countries."

India and Russia last week concluded a broad based agreement on the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy which covers research and development, building nuclear plants, upfront consent for reprocessing and fuel supply guarantees.

The agreement will be formally signed in March 2010 when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pays a visit to India.

Speaking on the reprocessing arrangement with India, Kadakin said: "Some modus operandi will be worked out to supply the fuel to India."

Referring to the G-8 statement, which calls for a ban on enrichment and reprocessing technology to non-NPT signatories, he said that international obligations cannot prevent full nuclear cooperation with India.

Kadakin said: "We should act according to all international obligations, but those obligations will not impede and do not prevent us from seeing guranteed supply of fuels to India."

Kadakin further stressed India's record of nuclear non-proliferation is flawless.

Experts believe that the India-Russia atomic pact is better than the 123 agreement because it ensures uninterrupted fuel supply whereas the 123 agreement inked with the United States mandates India to conclude a separate reprocessing pact under which New Delhi will set up a dedicated facility for reprocessing spent fuel under international safeguards. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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