Reprocessing deal well before August 2010 deadline: US

Washington, Nov 26 ( While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted that some “minor” problems relating to the India-US nuclear deal could be resolved in a couple of weeks, the US has expressed confidence the deal would be done well before the August 2010 deadline.

Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama had “discussed their mutual commitment to implementing the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative”, a State Department spokesman stated Wednesday when asked about the status of an agreement on reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

“The US and India continue to negotiate reprocessing arrangements and procedures as provided for by Article 6 (iii) of the US-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement,” he said.

“In this connection, the United States is confident that the arrangements and procedures will be concluded well in advance of the August 2010 deadline.”

Under the implementing 123 agreement, the two sides have to conclude arrangements for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel at a new dedicated facility in India within one year of the start of negotiations, or August 2010.

Manmohan Singh had said earlier Wednesday that problems with the civil nuclear deal were “minor” and could be resolved in a couple of weeks.

“We have had a very good discussion at the highest levels. I have been assured by the US leadership that the US remains committed to the early implementation of the civil nuclear agreement,” he told a press conference a day after his talks with Obama.

“There are minor problems with regard to the reprocessing [of the spent] fuel under the 123 agreement. I think there are no insurmountable problems. I am confident that in the next couple of weeks we can sort out issues,” Manmohan Singh said.