New Delhi, Feb. 7: Top nuclear experts said today changing demands from the US have forced the department of atomic energy to reassess the deal to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities in exchange for American cooperation.
The department’s view is that there is no reason to designate nuclear facilities developed entirely through indigenous efforts as civilian and thus open them up for international inspection, as required under the Indo-US deal.
In return, India gets US cooperation for its civilian nuclear facilities and access to fuel and reactors that produce nuclear energy.
While the department had been given to understand that the deal would involve voluntary and phased separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities, there has been a perceptible change in demands, an official said.
“The new words are ‘credible, transparent and defensible’ separation. These were missing in July,” said Adinarayan Gopalakrishnan, former head of the atomic energy regulatory board.
“The Delhi establishment doesn’t seem to have qualms in passing on these demands to the department of atomic energy. There is pressure to conform to these changes,” Gopalakrishnan said.
With President George W. Bush’s visit coming up next month, the government is keen on progress on the deal.
Intrusive inspections of the indigenous programme may delay research or, worse, allow inspectors opportunities to walk away with proprietary research data, the officials said.