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U.S. and India to Announce Details of Bilateral Nuclear Agreement

From Bloomberg:
The U.S. will today announce details of a civilian nuclear accord with India, an agreement allowing power plants in the energy-starved nation access to fissile material and technology.

Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary for political affairs, will brief reporters from Washington on the just- concluded, so-called ``1-2-3 agreement'' at 8 p.m. India time, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi said in an e-mailed media advisory. Indian officials, including Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, will brief the local media at 6 p.m. local time.
We'll be keeping an eye on this story today.


Paul Nelson said…
I did not see any followup. But the New York Times kindly filled that gap, with an editorial published August 5, entitled "“A Bad Deal Gets Worse.” As they declined to publish my rebuttal following, perhaps you would be willing to consider? This is approximately 150 words, per their policy for letters, but I would be delighted to provide you an expanded version, if you would be willing to consider posting same.

An Imperfect Good Deal

Re “A Bad Deal Gets Worse” (New York Times editorial, August 5).

The agreement reduces India’s capacity to produce nuclear weapons, by placing its “civilian nuclear facilities under … safeguards in perpetuity.”

It ensures fuel for civilian nuclear energy. This reduces the risk some future government will discard that program, to focus India’s considerable nuclear capability on weapons.

The reprocessing arrangement will allow India to apply its existing reprocessing capability to dispose of spent fuel in the manner most appropriate to its situation. It also will provide incentive for India’s fast breeder reactors to be declared as civilian.

The agreement is a creative effort to bring India “in from the nuclear cold.” India will not accept nonproliferation measures (e.g., fissile-material cutoff) perceived as harming its deterrence toward two nuclear-armed neighbors.

The agreement is another of the choices between the unattainable perfect and some attainable good that mark the history of nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

Paul Nelson is professor emeritus of computer science, nuclear engineering and mathematics at Texas A&M University, a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and Associate Director for International Affairs in Texas A&M University’s Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute. The opinions expressed are the authors’ personal views and do not represent official positions of any institution.

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