India enhances its nuclear transparency, ratifies Additional Protocol with IAEA
In order to bring more transparency of nuclear infrastructure, India has ratified an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The move will boost energy security and consolidate international confidence.
The proposal had been awaiting ratification for over five years. The new government ratified the protocol which will facilitate large imports of nuclear technology, enhance power generation and other civilian purposes.
The move shows the inclination of the new government towards enhancing energy security, which is expected to have a considerable nuclear component.
The Additional Protocol has under its purview only those facilities which are supervised by the IAEA, and will have no impact on the non-safeguarded facilities which are used for creating weapons. The safeguards pact with the IAEA covers 20 facilities that include the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, Tarapur atomic power plant, Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station,, and both units at Kudankulam power plant.
As per experts, unlike the “model” protocol that the IAEA has inked with several Non-Nuclear Weapon countries, the Additional Protocol signed with India is far less intrusive. The protocol provides for the collection of data of India’s nuclear exports, to ensure that the material is not diverted for unauthorized use.
The protocol would also ease regular entry and exit of the IAEA personnel by providing them with multi-entry visas, apart from guaranteeing “free communication” generated by the surveillance or measurement devices of the IAEA that are already in place in facilities that are under international safeguards.
The ratification lives up to India’s commitment made in the Indo-U.S. joint statement of July 2005, which clearly said that New Delhi would sign “an additional protocol” with the IAEA.
The ratification almost coincides with the meeting of 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group in Buenos Aires. India aspires to join this club which controls the global supply of nuclear material.