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  Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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U.S. senators have approved a nuclear agreement with India that essentially
U.S. senators have approved a nuclear agreement with India that essentially lifts a 30-year ban on the sale of civilian nuclear materials to the South Asian giant.

The Senate voted 86 to 13 late Wednesday in favor of the agreement following the approval of the bill by the House of Representatives 298 to 117 last Saturday. The bill is now to be signed by the U.S. President George W. Bush.

Bush praised the approval of the bill, which gives India access to U.S. civilian nuclear technology and nuclear fuel supplies in return for New Delhi allowing UN inspections of some of its civilian nuclear facilities.

"This legislation will strengthen our global nuclear nonproliferation efforts, protect the environment, create jobs, and assist India in meeting its growing energy needs in a responsible manner," the U.S. president said.

Electric power generation at India's nuclear power plants is declining due to the shortage of fuel. The country's uranium reserves are insufficient to meet domestic demand, and having not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) India was banned from purchasing uranium abroad.

India currently operates 14 nuclear power plants.

The implementation of this deal is the only way for India to facilitate cooperation with nuclear powers without signing the NPT. India refuses to join the NPT, saying that it discriminates against countries that tested nuclear weapons after 1967.

India tested a nuclear weapon in 1974, and the multinational Nuclear Suppliers Group was founded the following year to control nuclear materials proliferation.

The 45-nation organization lifted its ban on civilian nuclear trade with India earlier this month, paving the way for Congress to approve the U.S.-Indian agreement.


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