US, India seal key part of nuke deal

WASHINGTON: The United States and India have reached an agreement on reprocessing nuclear material, clearing a major hurdle in putting into practice a landmark atomic energy pact, officials said today.

The agreement, reached after months of painstaking negotiations, would allow India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from the United States for civilian energy purposes.

“Completion of these arrangements will facilitate participation by

US firms in India’s rapidly expanding civil nuclear energy sector,” the

State Department said in a statement.

The United States and India signed their nuclear agreement in 2008, a

signature part of the

deepening relationship between the world’s two largest democracies.

India had been in the nuclear wilderness for decades due to its nuclear weapons programme and refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But US companies have yet to benefit from the 2008 agreement because of lingering technicalities needed to operationalise the deal.

While the processing deal clears the last major hurdle between the two nations, the United States also wants India to sort out several additional issues, including limiting the liability of companies in the case of an accident.