R.K. Sinha, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), on Saturday ruled out India signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since India is a “strong supporter of the non-discriminatory [nuclear] regime.”
He said this in reply to a question at a press conference at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) at Rawatbhatta on Saturday when he was asked whether India would sign the NPT because Australia had now agreed to supply natural uranium to India. Earlier, Australia was insisting that it would not supply natural uranium to India unless India signed the NPT. (Natural uranium is the fuel used in India’s Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors – PHWRs ).
Mr. Sinha said: “We cannot sign the NPT, [with India] having been a strong supporter of the non-discriminatory [nuclear] regime. All our international agreements have got a few common elements. It means that cooperation will extend to full civil nuclear cooperation. We will be bound by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards in respect of facilities in which these equipment, material or fuel will be used if they are coming through the international cooperation but not beyond that.”
As already indicated at the time of India signing the civil nuclear agreement earlier, the AEC Chairman said, “We are declaring certain facilities, under the Separation Plan, to come under the IAEA international safeguards agreement.” These facilities were eligible to receive international supplies of uranium. India had already been receiving supplies of uranium from Areva of France, Russia and Kazhakasthan. These supplies of uranium could be used, in principle, in any of the safeguarded facilities in India, he explained.