Negotiations on a final text of the proposed Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between India and Japan have made “significant headway”, with both sides learnt to be working overtime on the technical details ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan on November 11-12. During the last meeting between the two prime ministers in New Delhi last December, it was announced that the two sides have agreed “in principle” on inking the civil nuclear agreement. The details that the two sides are trying to forge a consensus on include the contentious issue of reprocessing of spent fuel. Officials involved in the exercise indicated that Japan is open to somewhat softening its stance on allowing the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from Japan-made reactors, something that could have a significant bearing on the progress of the two atomic projects under discussion involving American nuclear vendors — GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse. If Japan were to go ahead and ink a nuclear deal with India, it could be a crucial determining factor as the two US reactor vendors, as well as a range of other global nuclear reactor manufacturers, source the most critical equipment in a reactor — the calandria or reactor vessel — from Japanese heavy forging major Japan Steel Works (JSW). Experts point to the fact that the transfer of Japanese technology to India for civilian use requires a nuclear pact, but Tokyo has so far desisted from initiating one as India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Indian Express 7th Nov 2016 read more »