Australia to back India-U.S. nuclear deal at IAEA

Australia is one of 35 members of the IAEA board, which will meet in Vienna on Friday to decide whether to endorse the India-U.S. agreement to share nuclear fuel and technology for India's civilian power plants.

Australia to back India-U.S. nuclear deal at IAEA
Australia will back an India-U.S. nuclear agreement at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Friday.

However, Smith said Australia would not reverse its policy of refusing to sell uranium to countries, such as India, that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Australia is one of 35 members of the IAEA board, which will meet in Vienna on Friday to decide whether to endorse the India-U.S. agreement to share nuclear fuel and technology for India's civilian power plants.

"The Australian government's position remains very firmly that it will not supply uranium to countries that are not a party to the NPT," he added.

Australia has 40 percent of the world's known uranium reserves, but has consistently rejected India's pleas to be allowed to buy the nuclear fuel from Australia for its growing energy needs.

Under the agreement, India will allow the United Nations nuclear watchdog to monitor activities at 14 of the country's civilian nuclear reactors.

In return, the United States will share nuclear technology with India, which must also win an unprecedented waiver from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group to allow trade in sensitive nuclear material.

The United States, Israel and other Western nations say they believe Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its uranium enrichment program is intended only for energy generation.

Indian activists, gathered and shouted against proposed India-US nuclear deal in Calcutta.

Reuters
Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2008, 17:10
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