The USA and India have reached an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation, bringing an end to restrictions on nuclear energy imposed on India after weapons tests 31 years ago.

The series of agreements included an umbrella science and technology agreement and an agreement covering energy to ensure stability in global energy markets.

The deal lifts a ban on civilian nuclear technology sales, allowing India to obtain nuclear fuel and advanced reactors from the USA and other suppliers, including the supply of uranium to those reactors India chooses to place under international safeguards.

The energy dialogue between the countries was launched in late May and established five working groups along with a steering committee to provide oversight of oil and gas, coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies and renewable energy, and civil nuclear.

The civil nuclear working group will foster exchanges between the US Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, on matters such as national practices, research interests, approaches to regulatory oversight and views of the role of nuclear energy in meeting global energy requirements.

President George Bush has pledged to move to full nuclear cooperation with Manmohan Singh’s government, a deal which also commits the Bush administration to press its allies and partners to let India into future-oriented international nuclear ventures such as Iter. The agreement will also see a number of important Indian nuclear and space establishments removed from list of entities which have been facing US sanctions. Although India is not a signatory to the NPT agreement, Singh attempted to allay proliferation concerns by pledging that India would never illicitly sell nuclear technology.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives is set to address concerns over the new joint statement.