IAEA approves stricter nuclear inspections deal with India
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday approved additional nuclear inspection measures for India, which the country has yet to ratify before it can receive imports for its growing nuclear energy sector.
The so-called Additional Protocol will grant IAEA inspectors greater powers to probe India's nuclear exports, in addition to the standard inspections envisioned in the nuclear safeguards agreement that India has signed but not yet brought into force.
However, diplomats said in Vienna that although the 35-country IAEA governing board had approved the additional measures, they fell short of Additional Protocols that are in place in other countries.
Unlike standard Additional Protocols, the text green-lighted for India does not mention verification of nuclear imports, short-notice inspections or the IAEA's right to take chemical samples which can reveal hidden nuclear activities, according to a copy obtained by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"The understanding is that it is weak, but it's better than nothing," said a Western diplomat, who did not want to be identified.
Under the 2006 civilian nuclear cooperation deal with the United States, India agreed to separate its nuclear weapons programme from its energy sector.
It also pledged to place 14 power reactors under IAEA monitoring by 2014, up from the six currently safeguarded by inspectors from the nuclear watchdog body.
Last September, the Nuclear Suppliers Group of nuclear exporting countries decided to end its supply ban for India, based on the agreement with the US and on the condition that IAEA inspections are in place.
India has already concluded nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, France, Russia and Kazakhstan.