February 27, 2006

India’s Singh moves to clinch US nuclear deal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India plans to list nuclear reactors
that generate about 65 percent of atomic power as civilian to
help clinch a landmark deal with the United States, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.

Singh's comments came days ahead of President George W.
Bush's visit to the country during which the two leaders are
hoping to close tough negotiations on the controversial deal
which aims to help India meet its soaring energy needs.

"Our proposed separation plan entails identifying in phases
a number of our thermal nuclear reactors as civilian facilities
to be placed under ... safeguards, amounting to roughly 65
percent of the total installed thermal nuclear power capacity,
by the end of the separation plan," Singh told parliament.

The United States insists a plan to separate India's
civilian and military nuclear programs, on which the deal
hinges, must be credible and transparent to prevent

Singh said India would also not accept international
safeguards on its experimental fast-breeder reactor program.
Fast breeders use spent fuel from existing reactors to produce
plutonium which can be used for both generating power and
making bombs.