Complaints over Russian fuel shipments

30 March 2001

The US has accused Russia of breaking international agreements to limit nuclear proliferation by shipping nuclear fuels to India. The US state department spokesman Philip Reeker said: “We deeply regret that the Russian Federation has shipped nuclear fuel to Tarapur in violation of Russia’s non- proliferation commitments.” According to Reeker, Russia shipped low enriched uranium fuel to India in violation of an agreement among the 39 nation Nuclear Suppliers Group which requires countries to have IAEA standards on nuclear facilities. Reeker said that Russia’s help to India and what he described as its “sensitive nuclear assistance” to Iran raised “serious questions” about Russia’s support for the goal of preventing nuclear proliferation.

Russia is helping India construct Kandankulam and Tarapur.

Pakistan has also expressed concern, claiming that India might use the fuel for military purposes. According to a Pakistani foreign ministry official, Pakistan’s major concern is caused by the fact that the fuel contract was concluded very soon after Russia had agreed to supply India with a large quantity of military equipment, including tanks and aircraft.

However, India says that Tarapur is in line with international atomic energy norms. Foreign ministry spokesman Ramindar Jassal said that all fuel imports for Tarapur have been under the safeguard regime of the IAEA. “India has consistently and repeatedly observed these safeguards.

The latest import from Russia is similarly covered, the IAEA having been informed,” he said.

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