Diplomatic Correspondent

All information is passed on to Americans, claims ex-AERB chief

"Scientific community will fight to the last" Kakodkar forced to speak out after "arm-twisting" by PMO, MEA

NEW DELHI: Most of the safeguard work done by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is "spying activity" on behalf of the United States, former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) Chairman A. Gopalakrishnan said on Thursday.

Insider's view

Addressing a seminar organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) at the India International Centre, Dr. Gopalakrishnan said that he had had a view of these activities from inside the system. "I have been inside the system. All the information [collected by the IAEA] is passed on to the Americans," he said.

Defends DAE stand

Defending the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) position that India's fast-breeder programme should not be placed in the civilian list of nuclear facilities as demanded by the United States, Dr. Gopalakrishnan said, "The scientific community will fight to the last ... "

Asked why the DAE chief, Anil Kakodkar, has chosen to go public on the need to keep the fast-breeder programme outside the proposed safeguards, Dr. Gopalakrishnan said Dr. Kakodkar was forced to speak out due to "arm-twisting" by the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of External Affairs. "He [Dr. Kakodkar] had to speak out on behalf of 20,000 engineers," the former AERB chief stated.

Claiming to speak on behalf of the DAE, Dr. Gopalakrishnan denied reports in a section of the press that the fast-breeder programme would be exempted from safeguards for a few years only. In a detailed presentation, he said the fast-breeder programme, which had been developed indigenously, was put in place in the face of all kinds of sanctions imposed by the U.S.

According to him, the breeder programme was to be kept out indefinitely and not till 2010 "or anything like that." These indigenously developed reactors were essential for India's strategic weapons' programme, he added.