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Congress Passes U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Bill

Source: Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

Passage secures administration goal with world's largest democracy

Washington -- Congress passed the U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act shortly before adjourning for the remainder of 2006. President Bush said in a White House statement that he is looking forward to signing the bill into law.

"I am pleased that our two countries will soon have increased opportunities to work together to meet our energy needs in a manner that does not increase air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, promotes clean development, supports nonproliferation, and advances our trade interests," the president said.

The legislation codifies the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation agreement, announced July 18, 2005, by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington, and then signed in early March 2006 during Bush's state visit to India.

The original version or the legislation was passed by the House of Representatives July 26, 359-68.  The Senate, however, made changes in the bill before approving it, 85-12, on November 16.

In the United States, different versions of an approved bill are reconciled before being sent to the president.  In this case, the House and Senate conferees agreed on a final product December 7.  First the House and then the Senate passed this reconciled version of the bill December 8.

A key element of the agreement is the provision of assistance for India's civilian nuclear energy sector, which currently provides only 3 percent of the country's electricity. India wants to raise that percentage for economic development purposes.

The United States sees the agreement as a way for India formally to comply with some of the same tenets codified in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which New Delhi never signed.  India has agreed to separate its nuclear reactors used for civilian purposes from those designated for military use.  Further, it has agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor its 14 civilian reactors and to bring them under IAEA safeguards, to continue its moratorium on nuclear weapons testing, and not to transfer nuclear technology to third parties.


... Payvand News - 12/9/06 ... --

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