Crossing a significant milestone, the Indo-French civil nuclear agreement was unanimously adopted by the French Parliament, paving way for companies to build nuclear power plants in India.

The French National Assembly on Tuesday adopted a law authorising the ratification of the Cooperation Agreement between India and France on the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, a French Embassy statement said.

The French Senate had adopted the law on October 15.

“The unanimous vote by both Assemblies is an important milestone in the development of the civilian nuclear cooperation between France and India,” the statement said.

France was the first country to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India within days of the lifting of the international nuclear trade embargo on India last year.

French nuclear supplier Areva has been allocated the nuclear project site at Jaitapur in Maharashtra to initially build two power plants.

The India-specific waiver of the nuclear transfer guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group was issued on September 6 and the agreement with France was signed on September 30.

The ratification of the agreement by French Parliament will enable its early implementation, the statement said.

The Indo-French nuclear agreement allows for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from French nuclear reactors under safeguards, and gives an assurance of lifetime supply of nuclear fuel for these reactors.

It does not bar the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies.

With the ratification of the agreement by the French Parliament, France becomes the second country after Russia to give unconditional rights to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to India.

The agreement makes it mandatory that reprocessing be done under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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