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"ACA's journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent."

– Hans Blix
Former IAEA Director-General
Nuclear Suppliers Group

The Senate and the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal: Issues and Alternatives

Body: 

SPEAKERS:

AMBASSADOR NORMAN WULF,
FORMER PRESIDENT’S SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION, 1999-2002

ZIA MIAN,
RESEARCH SCIENTIST,
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY,
PROGRAM ON SCIENCE AND GLOBAL SECURITY

MICHAEL KREPON,
PRESIDENT EMERITUS AND CO-FOUNDER,
THE HENRY L. STIMSON CENTER

MODERATOR:

DARYL G. KIMBALL,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
THE ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2006

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Edited by the Arms Control Association

DARYL KIMBALL: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for coming at 9:00 a.m. instead of our usual 9:30 start time. I’m Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. Welcome to this briefing on the upcoming Senate debate about the proposal for increased nuclear trade between the United States and India.

The Arms Control Association is a public education and research organization. We have been around since 1971. This is our 35th year. We are committed to practical and effective strategies for reducing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons threats. We have been working with a broad coalition of experts and organizations for over a year now to urge U.S. policymakers to examine the proposal that was put forward by President [George W.] Bush and Prime Minster [Manmohan] Singh in July 2005 more carefully.  And we have been advising the Congress and others to address the many flaws that we see in this ill-advised deal. While the Congress has responded to these concerns by tightening some of the loopholes in the administration’s original legislative proposal, we believe that serious problems continue to persist. 

We are here today on the eve of the Senate’s likely consideration of the enabling legislation for this proposal to highlight what the most serious flaws of the proposal are and to explain what we believe can and must be done to address those flaws. We also want to clarify before this debate and vote what we believe will be the far-reaching and adverse ramifications of the deal if Congress fails to stand up for a more sensible approach. 

Before I turn the podium over to our expert speakers, I want to provide a little bit of an introduction about this issue and what they are going to say. I think it’s important just to note that for over three decades, the United States and the international community have been trying to engage the world’s nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) holdout states, especially India and Pakistan. They have acknowledged that they have nuclear weapons. And over time that effort has been substantial and it has been a significant factor in limiting India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. But now with this proposal, the Bush administration seeks to reverse this decades-long approach by making India-specific exceptions to U.S. laws and international guidelines that currently prohibit nuclear commerce with states like India that do not accept full-scope safeguards. That means safeguards over all of their nuclear facilities, whether they’re military or civilian.

The president has also pledged to seek changes to the guidelines of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which currently restrict trade with states like India that don’t accept full-scope safeguards. That policy of the NSG, by the way, was a policy adopted in 1992 under the leadership of President George Herbert Walker Bush. 

As our first speaker Norm Wulf is going to explain, this proposal would not, as proponents claim, bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream. Instead it would blow enormous holes in the nonproliferation barriers that have kept the proliferation floodwaters in check. 

Ambassador Wulf, who is recently retired, has spent nearly his entire career fighting in the international diplomatic trenches for U.S. nonproliferation security objectives. He will explain why he believes on balance that India’s commitments under the current terms of the proposal do not justify making far-reaching exceptions to U.S. nonproliferation laws and international standards.

Now, as many of you know by now who have been following this—I see many people in the audience who I met for the first time about two years ago when we started discussing this issue—the proposed deal would not put under safeguards India’s military reactors, its enrichment and reprocessing facilities, and weapons fabrication facilities. India has not agreed to halt the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.

Our second speaker, Zia Mian of Princeton University, is going to explain how the supply of nuclear fuel from other countries to India could help free up India’s existing and limited nuclear capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons. Zia’s presentation, by the way, is based largely on the findings of a report that is out on the table by the International Panel on Fissile Materials. The report is an excellent and very good technical analysis of this issue. I should say that I think it is probably the best technical assessment of this complicated issue that has been done to date.

Now, proponents of the deal have made much of India’s pledge to accept safeguards on additional nuclear facilities. However, as we have noted and you should know by now, India has pledged only to accept safeguards at eight additional civilian nuclear reactors by the year 2014, which leaves at least eight other reactors available for weapons purposes, not including the dedicated military reactors that are there already.
 
Just as troubling, India has not agreed to put those civilian reactors under permanent safeguards as the current congressional legislation would require. Both the Senate and the House legislation require this. India is also seeking in its negotiations with the United States on the [bilateral 123] agreement for nuclear cooperation, which has to be worked out, assurances that the United States will help supply India with nuclear fuel in the event that such supplies are interrupted; even if fuel supplies are interrupted because India resumes nuclear testing or violates its agreement for nuclear cooperation.

Our third and final speaker, Michael Krepon, president emeritus of the Henry L. Stimson Center, is going to explain what the potential ramifications of that scenario are and how the Senate might address it.

Finally, before Ambassador Wulf comes to the podium, I would like to bring to your attention a letter that has been sent to the Senate just last night from over a dozen leading U.S. nonproliferation experts. In this letter, we describe the shortcomings I just outlined, as well as some other shortcomings in the Senate legislation (S. 3709), as well as several fixes that we believe can and should be adopted in the form of amendments to the bill.

Now, we can talk a little bit further about the prospects for the legislation in the Q&A which will follow the speakers, but just for now let me note that I don’t think that any of us here doubt that the overall package will be voted on either this year in the lame duck session or at least next year. But what additional stipulations and conditions might be added to the legislation are yet to be determined. That is where the real debate on this legislation will be. Several senators are likely to introduce amendments to the Senate bill, including Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who offered a very good amendment in the Foreign Relations Committee that would address the nonproliferation flaws that we and others have identified in this legislation.

We agree that it is important to build upon the U.S.-Indian relationship, but we think that there are ways in which we can do this without undermining vital U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals and international standards that have protected the United States and other countries for decades.

So with that introduction, let me ask Ambassador Wulf to come to the podium. Each speaker will make their remarks and then we will take your questions and answers. Thanks.

NORMAN WULF: I have to start off by saying that I mentioned to Daryl that I hadn’t had a suit on for so long I had to practice tying my necktie last night. (Laughter.) He suggested I should have practiced a little more. Thanks, Daryl.

KIMBALL: You did a fine job.

WULF: For many of you—or at least for me, let’s put it this way—I’m a little nervous today because I’m doing something I don’t think I’ve done in, say, 38 years of my career. I started shortly after law school getting a notice from something called the Selective Service Board and ended up spending six and a half years in the Navy. There you followed orders and did not question them. Then I spent 30 years working for the U.S. government and representing the U.S. government in front of a lot of different foreign groups and, needless to say, ended up espousing the U.S. line of what it would do. I have refrained since retirement from entering into the public arena and publicly criticizing actions by the administration that I think are wrong. 

But this one I think is so wrong and does so much harm that I decided that I have to speak up. I’m not sure it is going to make any difference, as Daryl indicated, but nonetheless, I want to share with you briefly why I think it is so wrong and why I think it does so much damage.

I think all of you know that it was the United States that was the moving force for the creation of the NPT. After its creation, we worked assiduously to convince virtually all the countries in the world to become parties; all except three: Israel, India, and Pakistan. We had North Korea for a while, but as you know, they withdrew from the treaty in 2003. The United States has had a uniform policy that goes back to the Manhattan Project that all proliferation is bad. For the first time, this administration has now decided that some proliferation, if not good, at least is acceptable. That is going to have tremendous costs in the dealing with the variety of issues. Let me just give you one example.

When I first got into the nonproliferation field in the early 1980s, we had a tremendously difficult time convincing many of our European partners that they shouldn’t make a sale. Countries like to make sales. That’s what they exist for. What they want to do is keep their corporations happy and allow them to make sales. So export control regimes are very difficult things for countries to vigorously enforce. If you think of our government and think of their government, it’s basically the same. You have on one side a nonproliferation crowd that’s worried about proliferation (a national security crowd) and on the other side you have the Department of Commerce, or whatever the equivalent might be, the ministry of trade, and they want to promote sales. For the longest time, the nonproliferation crowd was not the predominant voice in many governments of suppliers of nuclear technology.

I would say in the last 10 years it has pretty well changed. The nonproliferation crowd has become a strong, dominant voice and nonproliferation was viewed as something that was in their interest and that denying their companies an opportunity to make a sale was a sensible policy to pursue. I very much fear that what we have taught the other ministries in other governments is that the general principle, all proliferation is bad, is no longer valid. Rather, the principle is, well, if it’s really important to you to have a good relationship with a country, or if it’s really important for you to make this one sale, it’s all right. 

So by departing from a general principle and making exceptions, we’re opening the door to others to make exceptions. 

I think all of you have sufficient imagination that it’s not impossible to foresee that should this deal finally go through, Pakistan and probably Israel will be seeking similar treatment in the not-too-distant future. I think it’s inevitable. And the Middle East context at least is one, as Ambassador Bob Grey recalls, we spent a lot of time dealing with the Israeli problem in the context of the NPT because the Arab states kept saying, there’s an exception. We were able to say to them, there’s no exception; we do not engage in any civil nuclear cooperation with Israel. As a result of opening this door for this one small exception for India, we now open the door so Israel also can follow. I can assure you that we will reap a very bitter harvest in the Middle East, even perhaps more bitter than what we have now.

There also obviously is the fact that for a lengthy part of my government service we were very much preoccupied with three governments who had unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and who we believed had the intention of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. They were South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil. Over time they gave up, primarily for their own internal reasons but also because I think of some external pressures, their weapons programs and they became parties to the NPT. 

All of them had been subject to U.S. sanctions. All of them had been deprived of the possibility of U.S. nuclear components, reactors, et cetera. All had been deprived of U.S. fuel. I think it was a factor in their decision to abandon their weapons program, become a party to the NPT, and to put their nuclear program under safeguards. You’ve got to wonder if we’re not breaking faith with those countries. 

I also recall very vividly when the Soviet Union dissolved and nuclear weapons were stationed on the territory of three former republics: Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus. The United States put a tremendous diplomatic effort into persuading those governments not to retain those weapons, to allow the Russians to take them back to Russian territory, and for them to become parties to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states. Again, it seems to me they can very well charge the United States with breaking faith with them for their commitment. 

One of the obligations in the NPT that the nuclear-weapon states undertake is not in any way to assist another country to acquire nuclear weapons. I think one of our speakers is going to go into this at some length with respect to whether U.S. assistance could assist India’s nuclear weapons program. I don’t want to be on record as saying that what the United States is doing is a violation of the NPT, but I can certainly say I believe it’s inconsistent with the spirit and the intent of the NPT. 

U.S. efforts were not limited to obtaining the NPT and obtaining universal adherence or near-universal adherence. In 1974, as many of you know, India first conducted a nuclear test and they did it by diverting supplies from another country. The reaction to that was for the United States to propose establishment of a suppliers group. There was already a suppliers group in existence as a result of the NPT, but in 1974, many countries were not parties to the NPT. Chief among them were China and France. They did not join until 1992. 

So to get those countries and other suppliers who were not parties into an export control regime, we helped bring about the creation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This group elaborated on technologies that were too sensitive to export to countries unless the exports were under international inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

Over time, we took into that forum, as a result of legislation passed by the Congress in 1979, a requirement that they would not sell to any country that had unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. Up to that time, the United States and others didn’t make sales of reactor components and other critical components for a nuclear energy program to countries that had unsafeguarded activities. There was no prohibition; it was probably imprudent in retrospect not to have done so, but it was not prohibited. But in 1978 the Congress said the United States will no longer make such exports. We then went to the NSG—and it took a number of years I’m going to quickly add—but we persuaded them to adopt a similar standard. So now the NSG rule is no exports to any country if they have any unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.

In the late 1990s, Russia decided—after having recently joined the NSG—that it had a real good chance to make some reactor sales to India so it would try to fit this under a grandfather clause that they had come up with. The United States led the effort against that, saying it violated the so-called full-scope safeguards rule.

Now what are we doing? Just the same thing basically that the Russians had done. However, unlike the Russians, we’re seeking to get the rules changed as opposed to just doing it regardless of the rules. But by sounding such an uncertain trumpet, we are again weakening the nonproliferation regime, we’re weakening U.S. leadership, and promoting proliferation. We’re saying to other countries that we came up with a good justification for making an exception and you probably can too. 

The last thing I want to touch on is the timing question. India argued to our negotiators that the litmus test of U.S.-Indian friendship was nuclear cooperation—an argument, I might add, they’ve been making for some 20 years. It hadn’t been bought previously but it was bought now. The real question in my mind is what evidence do we have that India is prepared to take the steps necessary to make this deal work? As I think will be explained later, there are basically four big steps that have got to be accomplished. First and foremost, the United States and India have to sit down and negotiate an agreement for cooperation. The Atomic Energy Act says you must have this congressionally mandated agreement for cooperation. My understanding is that serious [differences remain in the negotiations]. 

The second thing that has to occur is India must sit down and negotiate a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Here too my understanding—I’m no longer in government so I may not have this correct—is not much has happened there either. 

The third thing that must happen is that Congress must change U.S. law to basically remove the requirement that everything must be under safeguards before any cooperation can occur. 

The fourth thing is that the United Sates presumably must convince the Nuclear Suppliers Group to change the rules and make an exception for India. The question in my mind is why should the Congress be the one to take the first step? Let’s make sure of India’s bone fides. The Indian press is so free and so fulsome that you can find virtually anything in the Indian press, but the Indian press basically is very, very critical of some of the elements that would be required in an agreement for cooperation. 

So my suggestion is that you probably ought to have Congress wait until we see some evidence that the sacrifices will not be just one-sided; that there will be sacrifices by both sides. But right now the approach is the United States Congress should act and make this exception and then eventually presumably we’ll get the Nuclear Suppliers Group and then eventually India will negotiate a cooperation agreement with the United States.

I want to close by speculating that there are at least two scenarios under which the United States pays all the price and other countries get all the profits and get all the benefits.
Scenario one would have the Congress do what the administration is requesting it to do, which is to pass this exception now. India then sits down and says, “Well, we’re not too sure.  Let’s keep negotiating on this 123 Agreement. There are a lot of onerous conditions.” Meanwhile, the United States then persuades the Nuclear Suppliers Group to make an exception. At that point, India can get up and walk away from the table with the United States. They don’t need the United States. They can buy from France, they can buy from Russia, they can buy from other suppliers because the exception is now written into the NSG rules. Wouldn’t it be far better to make sure that some of these basic agreements that sort of define how cooperation is to occur are in place first and do the exceptions later if we have to go the exception route?

My own bias is that the United States ought to respond to India’s request to be treated just like China is that we ought to respond in the affirmative. By that I mean what India is saying is something slightly different. They say, well, you engage in nuclear cooperation with China and you ought to engage in nuclear cooperation with us. Indeed, the United States does have an agreement for cooperation with China, and because China is a nuclear-weapon state, and because the NPT allows cooperation with nuclear-weapon states without full-scope safeguards agreements in place, we have this agreement with China. 

But what I mean is that we should treat India the same way as we treat China is that there are many areas of cooperation between the United States and China that are off limits; off limits because of the differences over human rights, off limits because of security concerns. Often it’s for a variety of reasons. Yet it’s an extremely broad and encompassing relationship. I think we ought to do exactly the same thing with India: have an extremely broad and encompassing relationship but there should be one exception: no nuclear cooperation. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Ambassador Wulf. Zia Mian, if you would step up to the microphone. Thank you.

ZIA MIAN: Thank you. As Daryl mentioned in the introduction, what I’m going to talk about is the results of an assessment that a group of us who are physicists associated with the International Panel on Fissile Materials did over the last year on some of the implications of this deal if it goes ahead as presently structured for India’s capacity to make fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

An earlier version of this, looking at the larger scope of this issue, was in an article that was published in Arms Control Today earlier this year. I think there may be copies outside for those who want to have a look at that also. Let me just say a few words about the international panel and then I’ll talk about what our understanding is.

Earlier this year, a group of us who have been worried for a long time about a need to control the production of fissile materials and to improve the security of fissile materials for weapons and to find ways forward for eliminating the very large existing stockpiles of fissile materials in the world, got together and thought that we could try and improve the standard of the international debate about what to do with plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons around the world. Right now we have 15 independent technical people from around the world. We have members from the United States, Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Norway, Germany, et cetera. The whole list of them you can find on our website at fissilematerials.org. We’ve published our first report, which summarizes our best understanding of the global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons around the world, what are the challenges for doing something about it, and what are some of those ways forward that we think might be worth exploring by the international community.

Turning now to the U.S.-Indian deal, I first want to just add one thing to what Ambassador Wulf said by way of the implications of the deal regardless of the specific amounts of fissile material for weapons that India may be able to produce. I say “may” because we’re not saying that they will, but they would have the capacity to do so. In addition to the nonproliferation problems that he outlined, one thing that I would like to have people remember is that just after the North Korean nuclear test, the Security Council passed a unanimous resolution condemning North Korea for having conducted this nuclear test and imposing sanctions of various kinds on North Korea.

I think it’s very important that the international community, through the Security Council, make very clear that this is what we think about nuclear weapons testing; that we don’t think countries should be doing it. Now, the problem is that we’ve been here once before. After the 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan—India tested on May 11 and 13, and Pakistan tested on May 28 and 30—the Security Council passed a unanimous resolution on June 6, 1998.  Resolution 1172 said that the Security Council was deeply concerned at the risk of a nuclear arms race in South Asia and was determined to prevent such a race. It outlined a series of demands on both countries, and I’ll just say what they were. 

One was that India and Pakistan should stop the further development of nuclear weapons, that they should not deploy their nuclear weapons, that they should stop developing ballistic missiles, and that they should stop producing fissile materials for nuclear weapons. There also were some others.

Now, since 1998 and this unanimous resolution from the Security Council, we have seen benign neglect—actually, I think “benign” is not the appropriate word—appalling irresponsibility by the Security Council and its members that they have basically forgotten that they ever passed this resolution because India and Pakistan have continued to do all the things they were told they should not do. With this deal, the United States is now saying that that resolution may as well never have been passed because no longer is it interested in saying that India and Pakistan must not produce fissile material for nuclear weapons; it’s saying if you do, that’s your business; it has nothing to do with us.

What does that mean now for future Security Council resolutions, unanimous or otherwise, that says you must do this? What it says is that as time passes, as interests change, who knows what the status of that resolution may be, that perhaps you shouldn’t take them very seriously at all in the future. I find that deeply troubling considering we’re dealing with nuclear weapons.

So, turning to the deal, one of the most important issues that this deal centers on is the fact that it would allow India to import uranium, which it is presently not allowed to do.  India has an important reason for wanting to import uranium: it’s going through an acute uranium crunch. Soon after the deal was announced, an Indian official actually told the BBC, “The truth is we were desperate. We have nuclear fuel to last only until the end of 2006. If this agreement had not come through, we might as well close down some of our nuclear reactors and our nuclear program.”

When we looked at India’s capacity to produce its own uranium for its nuclear reactors, both its power reactors and the uranium it uses for its weapons programs, there is good reason to believe that this was an honest assessment. India mines a lot less uranium than it actually needs every year because it’s built more reactors faster than it has been able to develop its uranium mining, in part because of substantial opposition from local communities to new uranium mining in India because of the terrible environmental legacy that they have seen accompanies this activity.

On September 23, the head of the Department of Atomic Energy of India, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, actually was interviewed and asked specifically about this question of a uranium shortage in India. He was asked, is it true that the capacity factor of our nuclear reactors—in other words, what proportion of their actual operating power that they’re supposed to run up—has it come down to 65 percent from 90 percent? That normally it was 90 percent until a few years ago; is it true that they’re now running at 65 percent of their capacity. He said, yes, and this is because there is a mismatch in the uranium, which means there isn’t enough uranium to run these reactors at the rates that they were supposed to be running and that they had been running until a few years ago. They’ve used up the stockpile of uranium that they had accumulated in the past. So they need this deal badly. Because of their ambitious plans they have to expand nuclear energy in India, and for their weapons program.

The details of how much uranium is mined in India and how it’s allocated to different parts of the program are in our report and you’re welcome to see the details, but India right now we estimate has about 500 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium already produced, and that’s about 100 weapons’ worth, roughly. There are reports that India has plans for an arsenal that is in the several-hundred-weapons range, comparable to the arsenals of Britain, France, and China in number if not in the destructive power of the weapons. India is far short of having the kind of stockpile of weapons material it needs for that kind of arsenal in the near future. It’s going to have this problem if it continues to have a uranium shortage. 

As part of the deal, India will continue to operate the plutonium production reactors it uses to make weapons material and the centrifuge facility that it has for making highly enriched uranium, which India has been using to produce fuel for its nuclear submarine reactor. India, like the other nuclear-weapon states, sees itself going down a fairly traditional route of having nuclear weapons and missiles on airplanes and at sea. They want the nuclear submarine. They’ve built a core for it. And the centrifuge plant is producing highly enriched uranium for fuel, but it could also be used to make highly enriched uranium for weapons. None of these are going to be immediately shut down as part of this deal. The smaller of the Indian military production reactors, CIRUS, India has offered to shut down in 2010. 

What the deal will do is that by allowing India to put eight of its civilian power reactors under international safeguards and then be able to import uranium to fuel those, the uranium that India does produce can then be allocated solely to its military reactors and the other parts of its weapons program. It means India basically frees up the uranium it would otherwise need for those eight reactors, which will be civilian and which you could get fuel for from abroad. 

If it uses just one of those reactors that it keeps out of safeguards for its military program, it could produce up to 200 kilograms a year of weapons plutonium. In other words, it dramatically increases India’s capacity to produce weapons material. It’s a roughly four-fold increase above its current capacity, and that’s a huge quantum leap in India’s capability to produce weapons material.

The other element of this deal that is deeply troubling is that India has a fast-breeder reactor. Fast-breeder reactors, as many of you know, are fueled by plutonium but they actually make more plutonium than they use in the fuel. But there is an important difference: that you can fuel them using reactor-grade plutonium, stuff that comes out of a power reactor, but the plutonium that is produced in these reactors can be weapons-grade plutonium. So what you can basically do is feed in reactor-grade plutonium and produce weapons plutonium. India’s breeder reactor we find could do this, and it would produce on the order of 130 kilograms a year of weapons plutonium, which India could then harvest for its weapons program. 

It may well be that the eight military reactors that India has kept out of safeguards will basically be used to produce the reactor-grade plutonium for this breeder. India wants to build four more of these breeders and they will all be out of safeguards. India has said—and I quote here again from Dr. Kakodkar, head of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy—that the reason for keeping the breeder reactor out of safeguards and away from international inspections is that, he says, “Both from the point of view of maintaining long-term energy security and for maintaining the minimum credible deterrent, the fast breeder reactor program just cannot be put on the civilian list.” In other words, this is a facility that has a military application as far as they’re concerned. The only military application will be to produce weapons plutonium. The U.S. did not insist on having this reactor put under safeguards. 

Now, I should say that regardless of this deal, India would have built this reactor and produced weapons plutonium in it, but the deal was an opportunity to try to and get this into the civilian sector; that if you want a deal, then those kinds of facilities that do expressly allow you to make weapons plutonium should not be allowed to do this, all right, that we want these facilities in the civilian sector. But the U.S. did not push on it and the Indians got what they wanted.

Let me end by saying that, going back to the Security Council resolution, that the fear of an arms race is becoming acute. The Pakistani response, as you can imagine, to this has been we want the same deal that you gave the Indians, and the U.S. said of course not. So the Pakistanis have been talking to the Chinese, which in the NSG are talking about a criteria-based exemption, which opens the door possibly one day they hope for Pakistan also to be exempt from these kinds of conditions on not having access to nuclear material and technology from the international market. But Pakistan’s nuclear command authority has said expressly that we will do whatever it takes to maintain our minimum credible deterrent, as they call it, given that this deal allows India to make more material for weapons. 

In other words, this deal, as far as Pakistan is concerned, is opening the door to a nuclear weapons race, or an acceleration of the nuclear weapons race in South Asia. They will stay in this race by building more centrifuges, perhaps building a second or third Kahuta facility, by getting the Chinese to help them upgrade the centrifuges they have, building another reactor for making weapons plutonium. There are many ways that they could respond to this and try and stay in this race. I think that is something that is deeply troubling to many of us. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you, Zia. Michael?

MICHAEL KREPON: You’ve been patient and I will be short.

How does the Bush administration make extremely consequential decisions? Decisions are top-down, and the riskier the decision, the more the degree of exclusion in making that decision. This is not unique to the Bush administration.

The second hallmark of decision-making is that expertise within the administration is excluded in making the decision. This is somewhat different. The intelligence community is not used, or is misused prior to making a consequential decision. 

The administration produces a fait accompli that has political appeal, or is hard to oppose on substantive grounds because of political reasons. The administration paints a very rosy picture of the upside potential of the deal, or the decision. The administration highlights only one downside risk. When you stop a train that has already left the station, it’s going to have terrible consequences for U.S. standing, for a bilateral relationship, for relationships with key friends and allies. You can’t stop a train that’s already left the station. 

The administration dismisses other significant downside risks by embracing very optimistic assumptions. Does this sound familiar? The same modus operandi that produced the Iraq mess has also produced the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal. This does not necessarily mean that the U.S.-Indian deal will do for proliferation what the invasion of Iraq has done for promoting democracy and stability in the Middle East. But it does mean that we have to look very, very hard at the underlying optimistic assumptions behind this deal. If these assumptions are indeed wildly optimistic, then we’re inviting a world of trouble with respect to proliferation.

So how solid are the underlying assumptions behind this deal? I will not place at the top of my list the assumption that this deal is good for nonproliferation. I will not insult your intelligence by repeating that argument. If this deal were good for nonproliferation, the administration would not be seeking a one-country-only exception. By seeking a one-country-only exception, the administration implicitly acknowledges what common sense would tell us, that this deal could have terrible downside risks if it were not limited to India, as Norm Wulf has said.

So what are the more credible underlying assumptions that are asserted for this deal? The first underlying assumption is that India will be a strong geo-strategic partner of the United States and this deal will solidify that. But this argument is less plausible the more one knows about India, and since there are a lot of people in this audience who know a lot about India, you know that India is a very proud country and it’s a very capable country, and it’s capable of determining its own national security interests. When those interests diverge from the United States of America’s security interests, India will go a separate way. There will be times that India will go a separate way on Iran, on China, and on other things because India can figure out what’s in its own best interests.

A second underlying assumption behind this deal is that U.S. firms will gain profits and U.S. workers will gain jobs in developing India’s nuclear power industry. I’m very doubtful of this, not only for the reasons that Norm Wulf has stated, but also for reasons of liability and liability insurance and liability waivers. Some of you in this room can recall back to 1984 when there was a terrible industrial accident at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. The release of chemicals at this pesticide plant killed 20,000 Indians, and I am having a hard time seeing how any nuclear power company in the United States will get liability insurance or legislation from the government of India or waivers that will allow it to proceed with construction.

So the business, as Norm has indicated, will go to France. The business and the jobs will go to Russia. The profits will go there as well. I think what’s left of the U.S. nuclear power industry in the United States understands that.  (Audio break) – insurance, combat aircraft, what have you. But to argue that American workers will benefit, and American companies will benefit from building nuclear power plants in India, I think that is just far-fetched.

A third underlying assumption is that a special exception to the rules of nuclear commerce can be carved out for India and India alone. This is a huge assumption. I believe it to be false because in order to make this deal happen, the United States government is going to have to do side deals with other nuclear suppliers, and other nuclear suppliers are going to do their own deals without waiting for U.S. consent. You wait. Soon after the Congress passes this legislation, the government of India will do deals with France and Russia, and then the U.S. government will be left high and dry. This is a very optimistic assumption.

So what are the most significant downside risks, the risks that the Bush administration is glossing over? The first risk is that a good-guys versus bad-guys approach to nonproliferation will fundamentally disturb and weaken the global nonproliferation system. The global nonproliferation system is based on a unitary set of norms, that proliferation is bad. As Norm has said, it’s bad for everybody.

We determine who the good guys and the bad guys are against their behavior by checking their behavior against these norms that apply to everybody. A rules-based system will undermined by a bifurcation of norms in which one set of rules applies to good guys and another set of rules applies to bad guys. The system cannot be strengthened on this basis; it can only be weakened on this basis.

The second big downside risk is that the risk of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will become a dead letter. This is a huge risk. This is the most unusual cartel in the history of global commerce because its main purpose in life is to prevent profit making when profit making results in proliferation. There is no other cartel in the world like this, and if we bust it up for our friends, and if the Chinese bust it up for their friends, and if the Russians bust it up for their profits, we’re in a world of trouble.

If the P-5, which are supposed to be the principal stakeholders in the nonproliferation system, instead become the principal profit makers, we are in a world of trouble.

The fourth risk is that the provisions of the deal itself will make it easier for the government of India to resume nuclear testing. Nations resume testing, or they test nuclear weapons when they feel it’s in their national security interests to do so, but the government of India has had a very unusual profile in this regard because it took over two decades between its nuclear tests.

Serious students of the Indian nuclear program, of which there are some in this room, have concluded that economic factors have contributed greatly to this very unusual profile of nuclear testing.

In this deal, the Bush administration has included fuel supply in perpetuity for the government of India. We have promised a fuel bank for the government of India. We have placed no limits on that fuel bank. Under some scenarios, the government of India can acquire sufficient fuel and reserve to withstand whatever penalties the United States or the international community might choose to impose if India resumes testing. Now, this isn’t very smart if it is the goal of the United States government not to help India make the decision to resume nuclear testing.

So what do we do about these provisions of the agreement? The agreement will be a very net negative for nonproliferation, whatever we do, but there are a couple of things that make some sense, at least in my mind. Number one is to reaffirm the consensus rule in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. If one or another country in the Nuclear Suppliers Group goes off on its own, then this system, painstakingly constructed over the decades, will come apart.

We need the consensus rule. We need the consensus rule to apply across the board for every country, for Pakistan, for Israel, for India. We run the risk not only of outliers of the NPT gaining special privileges, but countries that are party to the NPT backing away from their commitments and still receiving the benefits of nuclear commerce. I think the full-scope safeguard provision of the NPT is at risk here. That is down the road. If outliers to the NPT can gain the benefits of nuclear commerce, why should countries that have joined the NPT face stringent requirements for nuclear transactions? We are looking at a world of nuclear hedging here, and the rules are going to be softened not just for India, not just for Pakistan, not just for Israel, but for NPT parties as well.

If we are going to try and hold the line against this serious deterioration of nuclear commerce, we have got to look very closely at this fuel supply assurance that the Bush administration has given. Fuel ought to be supplied to India, if the deal passes, but it should be provided on a contingency basis, on an as-needed basis, and we should not supply India with a fuel bank of sufficient size to make it easier for the government of India to resume nuclear testing. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Michael. I think we have given you a pretty thorough look at this proposal. It is now time for questions. We will try to respond to your questions as best we can. If you would raise your hand, identify yourself, we will get started. Tell us who you want to address your question to.

QUESTION: I guess this is for all three. Director of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has been rather effusive in praising the agreement and characterizing it as bringing India into the mainstream of the nonproliferation international community. The consensus of the speakers here was the opposite. What explains your disagreement with Mr. ElBaradei?

KIMBALL: Well, let me start, and others might elaborate. Mohamed ElBaradei has two hats. Mohamed ElBaradei is responsible for enforcing safeguards. He is also responsible for promoting nuclear energy. In his cryptic statements—and he has not elaborated very much on his rationale behind his generally supportive comments—he has noted that he thinks that it would be useful to bring India into the nonproliferation system in some way or another. It is time that we try to do this.

I think our fundamental disagreement is that this is not the way to do so. India has not yet committed itself to the same kinds of standards and practices that are expected of the other acknowledged nuclear-weapon states, while it is getting exceptions from the rules that non-nuclear-weapon states are subject to. I think that ElBaradei’s statements about this deal contradict his very good and important statements about the need for the nuclear-weapon states to take further steps on disarmament, to end nuclear weapons testing permanently and in a legally binding fashion, and to stop the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.

So I think we have a strong disagreement with him. I think that it is partly because he has a dual mission. He thinks that this might be useful for nuclear safety within India. That may be a worthy cause, but there are ways to assist India with nuclear safety short of this kind of sweetheart deal. That is how I would explain it. I think he is dead long and there is a letter that a number of us wrote to him in July that is on the website of the Arms Control Association that I believe Norm and others signed along with me taking issue with his comments. Norm, did you want to add some thoughts?

WULF: I’ve known Mohamed for some 20-odd years even before he and his agency won the Nobel Peace Prize. I admire and respect him a great deal. I can remember a conversation with him shortly after the 1998 tests, in which he advocated and supported the concept of bringing India into the mainstream; making more of their facilities under safeguards.

I think the difference is that Mohamed has been an international civil servant all of his life. He has never worked in a government. He has never had to worry about commercial pressures that are brought to bear on governments. He has never had to worry about some of the, shall we say, the leadership issues that concern me. He does firmly believe this. I think he is wrong. When we had our discussion in 1998 I told him I thought he was wrong. I still think he is wrong, obviously. But I think he sees part of his job as nuclear energy promotion. Part of his job is more facilities under safeguards. He will get more under this deal.

KIMBALL: Well, to be clear, we have mentioned this in passing in our comments. India has agreed to put eight additional records under safeguards by 2014. From a nonproliferation standpoint, that is almost absolutely meaningless if the rest of India’s nuclear sector is not under safeguards and they continue to produce fissile material for weapons purposes. To say that this brings India into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream is something of an insult to those who understand what safeguards are really about and what nonproliferation is supposed to be about. That is a factual point that I wish ElBaradei would acknowledge. Are there other questions? Yes, sir. The microphone is coming.

QUESTION: Thank you. I’m Luke Engan from Inside U.S. Trade. I wanted to ask you gentlemen about the prospect of Senate passage during the lame-duck session. Do you see that as a possibility? Why? Have the concerns of members like Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) been addressed? Also, is there time for a conference passage?

KIMBALL: Well, let me start with that. Others may have some thoughts to add. The lame-duck session apparently is going to last some two to three weeks. I haven’t had a conversation with the majority leader or the minority leader, but I understand they are trying to work out some unanimous consent agreement that would bring this up during the lame duck session.

One obvious issue is that if the Senate does not find the time to debate and vote on the various amendments that are going to be offered to the base legislation, the conferees, the House and Senate conferees will have a difficult time finding the time to resolve their differences, and then to bring back the compromise bill to both the House and the Senate before they adjourn at the end of the year.

But my assumption, as I said at the beginning, is that at some point, this legislation will be voted on by the Senate, considered by the full Congress, either this November or December or some time next year. I would agree with Norm Wulf that it would be wise for this Congress to take its time in the sense that it must be very deliberate in understanding the implications. It also should look to see whether India is going to live up to some of the commitments that it should be living up to in the agreement for nuclear cooperation negotiations, and the Indian-IAEA safeguards discussions.

I’ll try to deal with the Ensign issue quickly. I think what you’re referring to is the controversy that lasted throughout August and September about Title II of the bill, which is the implementing legislation for the United States additional protocol agreement regarding safeguards. This is largely a symbolic agreement with the respect to the United States, but this is also something that India has said it would accept as part of this arrangement.

Ensign wanted to make changes and other Republican senators wanted to make changes to the criteria by which the United States might exclude IAEA inspectors from certain U.S. facilities. My understanding is that those concerns have been resolved in a manner that the Democrats and the Republicans agree. However, Ensign, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and other senators could raise objections to the compromised language, which has not formerly been adopted the Senate. That could remain a stumbling block. I would say that there is no reason why the Senate should reject the Title II implementing of legislation for the additional protocol.

QUESTION: So was that addressed in the Foreign Relations report or since that time?

KIMBALL: There is compromise language that has been circulated to offices. It has not been adopted formerly by the Senate. I don’t think the language has officially been filed with the clerk, but I understand that there is a compromise that has more or less been reached, but not yet formerly agreed upon. Norm?

WULF: This might sound like bragging, but I have a point to make. I was the guy that negotiated the additional protocol; first with about 70 other countries in the IAEA over about two years, and then negotiated the U.S. additional protocol with the IAEA. There is probably no one in the United States that would be happier to see that legislation pass than me. The Senate has given its advice and consent and it has been sort of languishing on the Hill ever since then. But it is, at the end of the day, as Daryl said, largely symbolic. I certainly would not support the passage of the implementing legislation for this protocol in exchange for passage of the Indian nuclear deal, particularly such a weak deal as the one that is presently before the Senate.

KIMBALL: Dan?

QUESTION: Hi, Dan Horner from McGraw-Hill Nuclear Publications. You alluded to the difficulties or the time limits on a conference, and given that there seems to be political sentiment now to try to get something passed, wouldn’t the tendency be in the Senate to try to make this bill not deviate too much from the House bill in the interest of having an easier conference. Most of the things that you are proposing here are not in the House bill. So, regardless of whatever merit there may be in the proposal, isn’t this sort of going against what the political indications are about how willing people might be to adopt some of these proposals since some of them go to the core of the deal?

KIMBALL: Well, let me try to address that. Michael, if you would also be prepared to talk about the point you were making about fuel assurances and the importance of this.

There are some things outlined in this letter of November 13 that I think you’re referring to, and some of the things we have discussed here that are not in the House legislation, okay. These are professionals on Capitol Hill. They can work out differences. But I think one thing that we need to understand is that Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate all have concerns in several of these areas. I don’t think there would be any United States senator today, no matter how much they support this deal, who would like to see India conduct a nuclear test explosion and then have this legislation require the United States to continue to supply nuclear fuel to India. 

So my point is that we think these are some very common sense proposals. If the House and Senate conferees and the senators take a close look at this and there is a thorough debate, I think that there will be broad support for some these provisions that we have outlined.

For instance, as I mentioned at the outset, Senator Feingold of Wisconsin offered an amendment in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would require a determination from the president that U.S. civil nuclear trade does not in any way assist or encourage India’s nuclear weapons program. The United States is obligated under Article I of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty not to assist in any way India’s nuclear weapons program.

The president argues that this will not assist India’s nuclear weapons program. If that is true, then the Senate and the House should be able to adopt a provision that requires the president to determine that in order to improve the confidence of the international community that this deal is not otherwise undercutting the nonproliferation system.

My view is that these are some very common sense, rational provisions that put the onus on the United States government to clarify that this deal is not going to have severe proliferation impacts. I think many of these can and will be adopted. Speaking of Senator Feingold, out on the table is a brief statement from Senator Feingold that his staff has brought here, which I have not read yet, but that is on the table. I recommend you take a look at that as you depart.

KREPON: The Senate bill, if it is passed, like the House bill, will continue to have provisions that the Prime Minister of India has labeled as unacceptable. The administration might seek to further water down India’s obligations in conference. I suspect that the public law that emerges, if and when it emerges, will continue to have provisions that the government of India has declared to be unacceptable. Perhaps that language was mere rhetoric, or perhaps, as Norm Wulf has suggested, the government of India will pocket that legislation, say thank you to the Congress, but we continue to have problems, and meanwhile, we are going to do deals with France and Russia.

I personally believe that to be the most likely scenario. But the Congress of the United States will not completely abdicate its nonproliferation principles to do favors for the government of India. So there will be some friction after this bill makes its way through the House and the Senate unless the prime minister of India didn’t mean what he said.

KIMBALL: Spurgeon Keeny, former executive director and president of the Arms Control Association, and then we’ll go back to you, sir.

QUESTION: Spurgeon Keeny. I think the panel has made an overwhelming case that the only proper action for the Senate would be to just say no, and particularly when you take into account that we have demonstrated in the case of Israel that the United States can have very close productive relations with a country without engaging in circumventing the nonproliferation treaty.

Is there anyone in the Senate, or any group, that really is prepared to oppose this? If not, why not? Is there a large number of people following Krepon’s suggestion or are they hiding behind the hope that there will be enough baggage on the agreement that the Indians won’t accept it? Could you just say some more about why has the Senate been stampeded in this action for which there seems to be no logical justification?

WULF: I would like to try part of that. I think there is an event tomorrow hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. U.S. industry thinks this deal is extremely important to their access to that market, and I think that is perhaps the most significant factor. I think the other factor is the India lobby, if I can use that phrase, is, some have suggested, perhaps the second most powerful, shall we say, foreign lobby in the U.S. Congress. The first being Israel or AIPAC. 

I think there are a lot of those sorts of reasoning. As I said earlier, India essentially convinced this administration that without our meeting this litmus test of nuclear cooperation, U.S. corporations would not get the same access that others might. I think that is what’s driving it and it’s obviously an issue on which I disagree. I think we could have an extremely productive and profitable corporate relationship with India without selling out our nonproliferation principles.

MIAN: I agree with Ambassador Wulf about the commercial interests and the role of the Indian diaspora in particular. But there are two things that I’d like to add that I think are very important. The first of those is that this administration in particular has thought about India as part of a strategy of dealing with China from the very beginning. Condoleezza Rice wrote about this back in 2000 in a Foreign Affairs article that India is an important element in China’s strategic calculation and it should be part of ours. What we’ve seen now in this nuclear deal was actually flagged in 2004 as part of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by the United States and India, in which the United States said that as part of building a strategic partnership with India, we will help India with its civilian nuclear program, its space program, dual-use high technology and missile defense. This is the first deliverable that has come out of that. 

I would not be surprised, if this deal goes forward, to see progress on all those other issues also. In 2005, India and the United States actually signed a defense agreement which talked about joint military activities outside the United Nations system; that India would basically join future coalitions of the willing, the possibility of joint military production, military R&D, intelligence sharing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. If you read the debate that took place in the House on this deal, you had members of the House say, look, we had NATO to fight the Soviets; now we will have India against China.

So those people who aren’t swayed by the commercial interests have bought into this notion that the new Cold War that is coming will be with China. If you’re going to fight a billion Chinese, having a billion Indians on you side would help.

KREPON: Let me just say quickly that if the analysis on this side of the table is correct then we can expect the Congress to have severe second thoughts later.

I also want to say, speaking only for myself, that I am prepared to adjust the rules of nuclear commerce. I’m prepared to do that. I would not do it on a good-guys versus bad-guys basis; I would do it on a criteria-based basis.  I would ask the recipients of nuclear commerce, the beneficiaries of the loosening of the rules to pay back into the global nonproliferation system so that the net effect of changing the rules is to strengthen the system. 

So I’m not rigid about changing the rules of nuclear commerce. I’m willing to entertain that. But I would ask the beneficiary to put something back into the system, something more than eight power reactors that may or may not be safeguarded in perpetuity, whose fuel may or may not be reprocessed for either additional nuclear power or additional nuclear bombs. This is the deal that the Bush administration struck.

Now, the government of India and many of my Indian colleagues are offended when I say that this is the most benevolent deal an administration has struck since lend/lease because that presumes that India should be treated differently than the other states that have nuclear weapons that are recognized in the NPT. Why should we penalize India, treat it differently than the P-5? That’s a very legitimate argument. I acknowledge that. But we need India to be a stakeholder in this system. We really do. India is a responsible state. It can be part of the solution. But it’s an outlier. It’s one of very few states that hasn’t signed the test ban treaty. It has no obligations, unlike 170-plus other countries with respect to nuclear testing. It’s still producing fissile material for weapons. Very few countries are doing that. We need India to put back something into the system, and it’s not. 

KIMBALL: Thanks. That’s a good summary. Yes, sir.  Back here.

QUESTION: K.P. Nayar from The Telegraph. From accounts which have come out of the Brazilian meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the more recent one, only four or five countries are actually opposed to the rules of nuclear commerce being changed by the NSG. How do you account for this overwhelming support within the NSG for this deal, especially from countries like Brazil, which you mentioned at the beginning, or Japan, both of which are committed to supporting the deal in joint statements with the Indian government? 

KREPON: Let me take the first crack at that. The profit makers, we can understand their support for the deal. Those who chafe against a North/South discriminatory set of practices, we can understand that as well. But I’m not so sure, K.P. that your characterization of the current vote in the NSG is correct. There are some NSG country diplomats in the room. Maybe we could ask them. But, Norm, what’s your sense of this?

WULF: I don’t have any information with respect to the last meeting of the NSG, but I think Michael has said it pretty well as to why so many countries are going along with this. I would go back to my analogy and say they have ministries of trade as well. 

KIMBALL: Michael and I have been looking at this issue in detail. There is a very good news report in the current issue of Arms Control Today that Wade Boese, our research director, wrote, which I think is the best summary of what happened at the last NSG meeting. But in response to your assertion that many states are supportive or there are no states that object, remember what Hans Blix said when he was inspecting Iraq and looking for weapons? He reminded us that the absence of evidence that Iraq has dismantled its weapons does not constitute evidence that they have those weapons.

My point is that just because certain states in the NSG have not spoken up and said, we object; we do not like this, does not mean that they support the deal. I think that the view of most of the Nuclear Supplier Group states to date has been that we have not gotten answers to our questions about this arrangement. Norway’s ambassador last year went to India on a visit, delivered to the Indian government a set of questions that came from all the different NSG countries. My understanding is that that set of questions has not been fully answered.

So from the perspective of most NSG states, why should they develop a position, let alone state it publicly, before they have answers to the important questions that they have. What kinds of safeguards will India agree to with IAEA? What are India’s intentions with respect to fissile material production? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

So I think that when and if the Senate and the House work out their arrangement on this legislation, when and if the Indians and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna finally get to formal negotiations on a safeguards agreement for these additional civil facilities, and when and if U.S. and India negotiators on the agreement for nuclear cooperation finally work out their substantial differences—there are about six of them that exist today—then NSG states may begin to form clearer views about this. I guess I would hope that many of them would take the position that we’ve taken here today, which is that we believe that the nuclear rules of nuclear supply can be adjusted, but we would like to see India do what it has promised to do, which is to live up to the standards of other responsible nuclear states; that means restrictions on fissile production, binding restrictions on nuclear testing, and becoming a helpful part of the nonproliferation system rather than a continuing irritant in those respects.

We’ll see what the NSG ultimately will do, and also remember it must agree by consensus. That is one thing that is in the legislation in both the House and the Senate that is very important and very good. The president must determine that the NSG has agreed by consensus to necessary changes to its rules to allow the United States and other countries to engage in full civil nuclear commerce with India. We’ll see what happens and I think it could be quite some time.

The mood in this discussion has been somewhat somber, but I think we’ve got to remember that the legislation that’s now before the Senate, which is still not completed, is but the first of four significant hurdles on the way to implementing this deal. I think it is going to take months for all four of those hurdles to be addressed, and they may not be cleared in the final analysis. 

So in my view, this is not a slam dunk by any means. There are still a lot of questions, a lot of problems, and I think at the end of the day, many states will start to see the light and there will be changes to the nature of the arrangement.

Ambassador Wulf, and then I think we’ve got time for maybe one last question before we conclude.

WULF: I just wanted to bring up one additional problem as long as we’re talking about the NSG, and that’s the need for a level playing field. Right now the legislation that’s before the Congress has in it essentially a cut off of cooperation should India engage in a test in the future. The question is if we don’t have such a similar requirement in the NSG exception—if there is going to be an exception for India—this then means that the United States law will cut off any U.S. company from having an opportunity to continue trade, but these other NSG members would still be free to go ahead and engage in commerce.

It seems to me that it’s an extremely important part of the entire package. Things that we seek in the NSG are not only an exception but also criteria that must be met and must be applied uniformly by all members.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Yes, we have one last question, and then we will adjourn.

QUESTION: Regarding to the panel, how many more reactors should we put under safeguard or surveillance because India has already put about 67 percent of its reactors under safeguards. With all these apprehensions being sounded, how many do you recommend?

MIAN: There are a number of reactors that India has imported from abroad earlier, and they are required under the terms of the sale to be under safeguard, so India has no choice about those. That’s six taken care of. So out of the ones that India has any choice about as part of this deal, it is basically a 50-50 split. Half of them will go under safeguards; half of them will stay out. 

My own position on this—and I’m not speaking on behalf of the International Panel on Fissile Materials—but our recommendation is in the same direction, that like all the other nuclear-weapon states who are party to the NPT, India should stop the production of fissile materials pending the negotiation and entry into force of a fissile material cutoff treaty, which has been part of the U.N. General Assembly resolutions and so on. There is a negotiating mandate and there is machinery that exists for it.

So the question of having any unsafeguarded reactors would no longer apply. India should say, we will join the other nuclear-weapon states and stop the production of fissile material for weapons, and then we will negotiate this treaty, which India says it will support. They should do that. Then this question of how many reactors under safeguards becomes all reactors should be under safeguards because if you’re keeping it outside safeguards, it means that you always have this question of—even if you are not making nuclear weapons material—people thinking you are making nuclear weapons material, and the international community has made it very clear it does not want to see anymore production of nuclear weapons material.

WULF: I would agree 100 percent. The reactors should be under safeguards.

KIMBALL: We’re going to stop there. I want to thank everyone for your attention, and we look forward to speaking with you in the future days and weeks.

END

Country Resources:

Nuclear Suppliers Updated on U.S.-Indian Deal

Wade Boese

Indian officials recently met for the first time with representatives of nuclear supplier states to sell them on a controversial U.S.-Indian deal to expand global civilian nuclear commerce with India. But New Delhi failed to address all the concerns and questions group members have raised.

The 45 members of the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) met Oct. 11-12 in Vienna for a regular Consultative Group meeting to assess worldwide nuclear developments. Participating governments seek to coordinate their nuclear export controls to prevent commercial transfers from abetting nuclear weapons programs.

The group convened two days after North Korea announced its first nuclear test and authorized an Oct. 12 statement urging all countries to “exercise extreme vigilance” to prevent trade that might benefit Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

The NSG’s origins go back to another test: India’s 1974 nuclear blast, which used plutonium produced by a Canadian-supplied reactor using U.S.-origin heavy water designated for peaceful purposes. Several countries formed the group the following year to enact stricter export standards.

In 1992, at the instigation of the United States, the NSG adopted a rule applying to all but the five recognized nuclear-weapon states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—under the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The dictate said that, for other countries to enjoy full nuclear trade, they must open up their entire nuclear enterprises to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is charged with enforcing safeguard agreements. India, which has never signed the NPT, refused, resulting in NSG members significantly limiting exports to India. The IAEA safeguards agreements help verify that countries do not exploit civilian nuclear facilities, materials, and technologies to build bombs.

As part of their July 2005 initiative to expand nuclear trade, Washington and New Delhi are seeking to persuade the NSG to exempt India from the 1992 rule. (See ACT, September 2005.) Several group members, including France, Russia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, have expressed their support. Some suppliers, however, worry that exempting India might send the wrong signal to other countries that have accepted the NPT basic bargain of forswearing nuclear weapons in return for full civilian nuclear trade. They contend that some states might reconsider their restraint if India is granted the same trade privileges while retaining and possibly expanding its nuclear arsenal.

Indian officials made their case Oct. 12 to the group. The confidential presentation, which reportedly stressed India’s need for nuclear energy and determination not to cap its nuclear weapons sector, did not assuage all the concerns of critics and skeptics, two NSG member officials told Arms Control Today in separate October interviews.

Suppliers conducted no vote on the U.S.-Indian initiative. The group, which operates by consensus, typically makes decisions at a once-a-year plenary; the next one is scheduled for April in South Africa.

Much remains unsettled about the U.S.-Indian deal, so the NSG may not face an April decision. Congress has not passed legislation changing U.S. law to authorize full civilian nuclear trade with India. In addition, the IAEA and New Delhi have not started negotiations on the duration and scope of the agency’s oversight because India is balking at the notion of permanent IAEA safeguards for its entire civilian nuclear sector. (See ACT, October 2006.)

Moreover, U.S. and Indian negotiators have not completed the so-called 123 agreement, which codifies the terms of U.S. nuclear trade with a foreign state. Such an agreement is required by section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. Negotiators first met in June but have not reconvened. New Delhi has been waiting on Congress to pass a final bill on the deal, which could occur in November or December.

Suppliers also failed at the October meeting to align on two additional proposals. One calls for criteria to govern exports of uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies, both of which can be used to produce nuclear fuel or fissile material for nuclear bombs. The other would block nuclear trade with a country unless it had enacted an additional protocol delegating the IAEA greater powers to uncover illicit activity.

 

Nuclear Suppliers Still Split on U.S.-Indian Deal

Wade Boese

The world’s leading nuclear supplier states remain divided on a U.S. initiative to exempt India from international rules restricting civilian nuclear trade with New Delhi. The 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) also are at odds on two proposals for adding regulations governing their nuclear exports.

Group members convened June 1-2 in Brasilia for an annual decision-making meeting, but no major policy decisions were adopted because of differences among the participants. The voluntary group operates by consensus to coordinate nuclear export controls among its members, which range from nuclear-armed powers such as the United States and Russia to the small, non-nuclear island nation of Malta.

India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan are countries with significant nuclear programs that are outside the group. These four countries are barred from importing key nuclear materials and technologies from NSG members because, in part, they fail to meet a 1992 NSG requirement that importers submit their entire nuclear complexes to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Such measures are intended to deter and detect the diversion of civilian nuclear technologies to building bombs.

President George W. Bush committed last July to clearing away barriers restricting full civilian nuclear trade with India. (See ACT, September 2005.) Now, U.S. officials, backed by their British, French, and Russian counterparts, are urging the NSG to exempt India from the 1992 rule, which was originally conceived and promoted by the United States.

Aside from the four main proponents and some strong critics, such as Sweden and Ireland, most NSG members seem to be on the fence, albeit leaning one way or the other. Before taking a final position, these members, for the most part, want to wait for Congress to act on the initiative, for Washington and New Delhi to complete negotiations on a bilateral cooperation agreement, and for India and the IAEA to conclude a new safeguards arrangement.

Several government officials of NSG members interviewed in June by Arms Control Today said that the Brasilia event saw no notable shifts in members’ positions. A few of these officials attributed the lack of movement to insufficient information provided by India and the United States in response to concerns and questions raised about the deal by NSG members at previous group meetings. Because NSG meetings are supposed to be confidential, the officials declined to be identified for this article.

The officials noted that China, for the first time, declared it would prefer establishing a criteria-based approach for determining whether countries not meeting the 1992 condition should be allowed to engage in nuclear trade, rather than singling out India for special exemption. China has nuclear projects underway with Pakistan, which has told the NSG that the U.S.-Indian initiative might destabilize South Asia. China can fulfill nuclear contracts with Pakistan that predate Beijing joining the NSG in 2004, but it is now restricted in pursuing new deals with Islamabad.

India declined to attend the Brasilia meeting despite being urged to do so by Washington. Although not a NSG member, India has pledged to abide by NSG rules for nuclear commerce.

U.S., British, and French officials reportedly sought to include a positive reference to the U.S.-Indian deal in the group’s closing public statement, but other members were not in favor of doing so. As a result, a June 2 statement by the group simply reported that members had examined and discussed the deal and “agreed to return to this matter.”

The group also will continue talks on two other major proposals on which the Brasilia meeting was unable to reach consensus. Both are outgrowths from a February 2004 Bush speech outlining proposals to stem the spread of unconventional weapons. (See ACT, March 2004.)

The first aims to establish as an NSG trade rule that importers must adhere to an IAEA additional protocol. Such protocols give the agency greater authority to investigate whether illicit nuclear activities are taking place inside a particular country.

Argentina and Brazil, which have not negotiated additional protocols, oppose such a move. So does South Africa, which pointed out that other group members— Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the United States—have yet to bring their additional protocols into force. France and Russia, major nuclear suppliers, oppose this criterion too, presumably for commercial reasons.

The second U.S. proposal called for barring uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies to countries currently lacking operational facilities for those activities, which can produce both nuclear fuel and the explosive material for nuclear weapons. Last year, after some NSG members objected to an outright ban, the group agreed to devise criteria for judging whether importers should be permitted to receive enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. (See ACT, September 2005.) But members failed to concur on criteria in Brasilia.

Members did agree to exercise stricter control over some nuclear exports, including valves designed for uranium enrichment. Halting Iran’s uranium-enrichment program is a top priority for the United States and some other group members. The group reported that its talks on “current proliferation challenges focused principally on [ Iran].”

Nuclear experts of the group will meet next in October. The date and site of the next annual plenary are not fixed yet because the group has not selected who will serve as its next rotating chairman.

 

Next Stop: The NSG

Daryl G. Kimball

Within months, the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will move from the periphery to the center of a year-long debate about whether India should become eligible for full civil nuclear trade even though it does not yet observe the nonproliferation practices expected of other states. The outcome will have a profound impact on the future of the entire nonproliferation system.

The NSG was formed as a direct response to India’s 1974 bomb test, which used plutonium produced by foreign-supplied reactors that were supposed to be operated only for peaceful uses. Although the group’s guidelines are not binding, it has helped curtail the flow of dual-use technologies, materials, and nuclear fuel and reinforced the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

The NSG debate will provide an opportunity for action by the leaders of states who correctly believe the U.S.-Indian proposal could further erode the nonproliferation system and allow India to expand its nuclear stockpile. When that time comes, possibly as soon as October, they have a responsibility to insist on a better alternative.

In June, two key congressional committees approved bills based on a July 2005 proposal from President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. They called for granting India an unprecedented exemption from U.S. laws and NSG guidelines that restrict nuclear trade with states, such as India, that do not allow international safeguards of all nuclear sites. Among the provisions added by Congress, however, is a requirement that the president must win consensus approval from the NSG for nuclear trade with India.

So far, the NSG remains split on whether to grant India a country-specific exemption. France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the main proponents, while the majority of other states have unresolved questions and concerns. Meanwhile, China and a handful of other states, including Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden remain opposed to creating a loophole for India without additional disarmament commitments from New Delhi.

One of the concerns of the skeptics is that an India-specific exemption from NSG guidelines would compromise efforts to restrict peaceful nuclear trade only to those states that have joined the NPT and meet global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament standards.

The U.S. proposal has already encouraged Russia to ignore NSG guidelines and supply India’s two Tarapur light-water reactors with nuclear fuel. At a later point, China may also seek similar exemptions for Pakistan, one of its allies and nuclear trading partners.

Many concerned NSG members also realize that the proposed separation of India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities and the application of international safeguards to additional civil facilities is more symbol than substance. If India gains access to advanced nuclear equipment, especially uranium-enrichment and plutonium-separation-related technology, it could be replicated and used to improve India’s weapons program.

Despite objections from the White House and New Delhi, the Senate legislation includes a partial prohibition on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology. But unless the NSG states also agree to bar such transfers, India could obtain these dual-use technologies from other willing suppliers.

Given that India has not joined the five original nuclear-weapon states in halting the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for bombs, many NSG governments worry that supplying nuclear fuel to India could allow it to devote its limited supply of uranium exclusively to its weapons program. That could lead to further arms competition among China, India, and Pakistan. So far, Congress has failed to require the president to certify that U.S. nuclear trade does not, in any way, assist India’s bomb program.

Unless the NSG requires that India join a multilateral fissile material cutoff regime before getting the full benefits of peaceful nuclear trade, India could increase its annual bomb production rate from about six to ten bombs to several dozen. The NSG should also condition full nuclear trade on the formalization of India’s eight-year-old nuclear test moratorium.

With Congress poised to vote on the committee-approved legislation for renewed U.S. civil nuclear trade with India, Washington, Paris, and London can be expected to press the NSG to take action this year. But there should be no rush to judgment.

Before the United States can deliver nuclear-related goods under the deal, India must first negotiate a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. U.S. and Indian negotiators must also resolve at least six major points of contention on a bilateral agreement for nuclear cooperation.

The Bush-Singh proposal to make a special exception to the nonproliferation rules and standards for India has the potential to undermine the NSG and the nonproliferation system. For NSG states concerned about the fragility of the nonproliferation system and the adverse impact of the India nuclear deal, this is the time for them to stand up in defense of their security priorities and the future of the nuclear nonproliferation system.

 

 

Congress, NSG Question U.S.-Indian Deal

Wade Boese

After surprising the world and Congress last summer with its proposal to expand global civil nuclear trade with India, the Bush administration is now asking lawmakers and other governments to help make it happen. Although some quickly expressed their support, others are opposed or undecided and in no rush to act.

At its core, the proposed U.S.-Indian deal, consummated July 18, 2005, and fleshed out further March 2, requires India to divide its nuclear complex into military and civilian sectors and open the civilian side to international oversight, including inspections. In return, the Bush administration is seeking India-specific exemptions to U.S. law and international rules to permit nuclear commerce with India’s declared civilian nuclear entities and facilities.

Nuclear trade with India has been significantly restricted since 1974 when it used Canadian and U.S. nuclear imports to build and test a nuclear device. In response to this test, the United States spearheaded the 1975 creation of the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to help regulate global nuclear trade, and Congress passed the 1978 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act.

The law establishes strict conditions for all U.S. nuclear trade agreements with other governments. The United States and India have yet to finalize a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement, but Washington submitted a draft deal to New Delhi March 14.

Meanwhile, the administration forwarded a proposal to Congress March 9 to exempt the bilateral U.S.-Indian cooperation agreement from statutory conditions once it is completed. Typically, such an exemption would require majority approval both from the Senate and the House of Representatives. But the administration has proposed a different process that would essentially allow the bilateral agreement to pass after 90 days if a two-thirds’ majority of each chamber of Congress does not vote to oppose it.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a vociferous critic of the U.S.-Indian deal, condemned the administration’s approach March 10. “It appears that the administration wants to avoid a vote on the actual text of the nuclear cooperation agreement they will be negotiating with the Indian government,” he stated. Markey added, “Perhaps they’ve begun to realize that if the members have to actually vote on this bad deal, they’ll face a serious uphill battle.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) introduced the administration’s proposal as legislation within days of receiving it, but neither endorsed the approach. Instead, they commented on the deal’s importance and complexity and the need for legislators to learn more about it.

Hyde even went a little further. A March 13 press release from his committee noted that “Hyde suggested that Congress may seek conditions for its approval.”

Since concluding the deal, Bush administration officials have repeatedly warned Congress against asking India to undertake additional obligations. As Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, who served as the deal’s primary negotiator, reiterated March 16, “[I]f you try to open it up and renegotiate it, you probably wouldn’t be able to put it back together again.”

Still, several in Congress, including some key Republicans, are voicing reservations. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, pronounced himself “skeptical” March 5 on ABC’s This Week. Expressing concern about how nuclear trade might aid India’s nuclear weapons program, Hunter cautioned that “the president is trying to ride the nuclear tiger.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), an important GOP moderate, said on the same broadcast, “I am leery whenever we put any kind of nuclear capability off-limits to international inspections.” India is keeping eight of 22 thermal reactors and two fast-breeder reactors outside of international supervision and reserving the right to classify future reactors of both types as military and off- limits to outsiders.

The deal also has strong supporters. Former co-chairs of the congressional caucus on India and Indian Americans, Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), sent a March 2 letter to their fellow members hailing the plan as a “landmark effort.”

Burns said the administration is “encouraged” by the number of legislators who have provided positive feedback, but he also conceded, “[A] lot of them have technical questions or they want to see the full development of our argument in testimony.” He added, “I think that we are in, you know, round one of a 15-round match.”

The administration is also in another bout to persuade the other 44 NSG members to exempt India from the group’s rule that a non-nuclear-weapon state must provide international access and supervision to all of its nuclear facilities to be eligible for nuclear imports. India possesses an estimated 50-100 nuclear weapons, but it is defined by the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapon state be cause it did not test a nuclear weapon before Jan. 1, 1967. Along with Israel and Pakistan, India has shunned the NPT.

In mid-March, the administration began circulating its preferred NSG approach for exempting India. If approved, the administration’s new rule would permit a group member to export nuclear goods to India if that particular government was “satisfied” that New Delhi was abiding by its nonproliferation commitments, such as maintaining a nuclear testing moratorium.

To take effect, the administration’s proposal would need to be adopted by consensus. Although no NSG member has publicly objected to reviving nuclear trade with India, several, including Austria, Brazil , Japan, Norway, and Sweden, reportedly have qualms. In early March, German political parties began debating what position Berlin should take.

China , which has close nuclear ties to Pakistan, has not taken a clear public stance. However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang March 2 called for NPT nonsignatories to “get on board” the treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states “at an early date.”

Islamabad has questioned the U.S.-Indian deal while voicing interest in a similar arrangement. Washington has repeatedly ruled out such a possibility.

France , Russia, and the United Kingdom have backed the U.S. proposal on India, which also received the blessing of International Atomic Energy Agency Director- General Mohamed ElBaradei. “This agreement would serve the interests of both India and the international community,” ElBaradei stated March 2.

Moscow , however, is not waiting on the NSG to approve the deal. Russia informed the United States in March that it would supply India with nuclear fuel for its Tarapur reactors. The Kremlin defended the shipments as being justified for safety reasons and, therefore, not an NSG violation. India, which is not a group member, asserted the same.

Burns made clear March 16 that Washington disagreed. He argued the “proper sequencing” would be for U.S. law and the NSG provision to be changed first and then other countries could conduct nuclear trade with India.

The NSG’s next decision-making meeting is scheduled for May 29-June 2 in Rio de Janeiro . According to congressional and diplomatic sources, Bush administration officials have been urging Congress and the NSG each to act before the other, but both are reluctant to hurry and do not want to be stampeded into a decision.

 

U.S. Proposal for Changes to Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines Circulated March 2006

Sections:

Body: 
Note for Reporters by Daryl G. Kimball

March 27, 2006

As part of the proposal for full civil nuclear cooperation with India as outlined by President Bush and Prime Minister Singh in their July 18, 2005 Joint Statement, Bush pledged to seek India-specific exceptions to NSG guidelines adopted at the United States' urging in 1992 that restrict trade with non-nuclear-weapon states (including India) that do not accept full-scope IAEA safeguards.

In the days before a March 22-23 consultative group meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in Vienna, the United States circulated a draft text for possible adoption by the 45-member group, which operates by consensus.

According to sources, the meeting included a general discussion of the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation proposal, but apparently no specific discussion on the proposed U.S. text that would create a loophole in NSG trade restrictions. Thirty delegations spoke. As expected, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom expressed general support for the proposal, but the rest, including Japan and China, asked numerous questions, many of which were very critical.

The skeptical reaction of the majority of NSG members represents a setback for the Bush administration. There was no agreement to put the U.S. proposal on the formal agenda of the NSG Plenary meeting May 29-June 2 in Brazil. This situation could theoretically change, but even if the United States works quickly to revise its proposed changes to NSG guidelines to make a country-specific exemption for India, it is highly unlikely that the NSG states will agree to act on the initiative at the upcoming meeting.

Brief Analysis

India-specific exemptions from NSG guidelines would erode the credibility of the NSG's effort to restrict legitimate peaceful nuclear trade only to those states that meet global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament standards. The U.S. proposal could invite other nuclear supplier states to seek exemptions for their preferred nuclear trading partners that don't yet meet the NSG's standards and/or prompt nuclear supplier states to simply ignore the NSG's voluntary guidelines, as Russia has already done by re-supplying India's two Tarapur light-water reactors this month. (Russia had announced in December 2004 that it would not re-supply the Tarapur reactors but changed its position sometime after Bush and Singh announced their proposal for civil nuclear cooperation.)

One of the most notable and troublesome features of the U.S. proposal is the weak and very ambiguous language in section 2, which is ostensibly meant to outline what India must do in order to qualify for transfers of NSG trigger list items. In addition, section 4 would allow individual NSG members to decide whether India is meeting these weak standards before they sell nuclear technology and materials (possibly including technologies the United States would not be willing to sell) to India.

Section 4 says in part: Participating Governments may transfer trigger list items and/or related technology to the safeguarded civil nuclear facilities in India (a State not party, and never having been a party, to the NPT) as long as the participating Government intending to make the transfer is satisfied that India continues to fully meet all of the aforementioned nonproliferation and safeguards commitments, and all other requirements of the NSG Guidelines.

In essence, the Bush administration is proposing an NSG rule-change that would not only erode rules-based efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, but it would also allow other states to interpret the India-specific rule as they see fit and undermine how U.S. policymakers would like to see such a rule applied.


[U.S. Government Circulated] Draft
Pre-Decisional

Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India

  1. At the [blank] Plenary meeting on [blank] the Participating Governments of the Nuclear Suppliers Group agreed that they:
  • Desire to contribute to an effective non-proliferation regime, and to the widest possible implementation of the objectives of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;
  • Seek to limit the further spread of nuclear weapons;
  • Wish to pursue mechanisms to affect positively the conduct of those outside the Treaty;
  • Seek to promote international cooperation in the research, development and safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and e. Recognize the promise of nuclear power in India as a clean source of energy for sustained economic growth and prosperity.
  • In this respect, Participating Governments have taken note of steps that India has taken as a contributing partner in the nonproliferation regime and they welcome India’s efforts with respect to the following commitments and actions:
    • Having publicly designated peaceful civil nuclear facilities which will be submitted to IAEA safeguards in perpetuity;
    • Having committed to continue its moratorium on nuclear testing, and to work with others towards achievement of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty;
    • Having committed to accept an Additional Protocol covering designated civil nuclear facilities;
    • Having committed to support international efforts to restrain the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies;
    • Having adopted a national export control system capable of effectively controlling transfers of multilaterally controlled nuclear and nuclear related material, equipment, and technology;
    • Having agreed to adhere formally to the Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines.
  • For these reasons, Participating Governments have therefore adopted the following policy on civil nuclear cooperation by Participating Governments with the peaceful safeguarded Indian civil nuclear power program.
  • Notwithstanding paragraphs 4(a), 4(b), and 4(c), of INFCIRC/254/Part 1 as revised, Participating Governments may transfer trigger list items and/or related technology to the safeguarded civil nuclear facilities in India (a State not party, and never having been a party, to the NPT) as long as the participating Government intending to make the transfer is satisfied that India continues to fully meet all of the aforementioned nonproliferation and safeguards commitments, and all other requirements of the NSG Guidelines.
  • Participating Governments, in accordance with Paragraph 4(d), will continue to strive for the earliest possible implementation of the policy referred to in paragraph 4(a).
  • The NSG Point of Contact is requested to submit this Statement to the IAEA DG with a request that he circulate it to all Member States.
  • Country Resources:

    Subject Resources:

    The U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Deal: A Critical Assessment

    Body: 

    ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION PRESS BRIEFING

    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2006
    9:30 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.


    PANELISTS

    DAVID ALBRIGHT, PRESIDENT,
    INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

    LEONARD WEISS, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR,
    U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

    DARYL G. KIMBALL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
    ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION

    Transcript by:
    Federal News Service
    Washington, D.C.

    DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am Daryl Kimball with the Arms Control Association. I want to welcome you this morning to our briefing on the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal. We are hoping to provide you with a critical assessment of the proposal.

    Many of you are familiar with the Arms Control Association. For those of you who are not, we are a non-partisan membership organization that has been around for 35 years, established in 1971 actually as a project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. We are pleased once again to be using Carnegie's facilities for another Arms Control Association event.

    Almost seven months ago on July 18, President Bush and Prime Minister Singh issued a joint statement outlining their proposal for the resumption of full civil nuclear trade with India. And the United States of course and much of the rest of the world restricted trade with India following New Delhi's 1974 nuclear bomb test, which improperly utilized plutonium produced by a Canadian-supplied reactor and U.S. heavy water that were supposed to be used only for peaceful purposes.

    Since July, the two governments have been negotiating the details of India's pledge to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities. These negotiations are continuing as we speak and are not expected to reach a conclusion before President Bush's scheduled trip to India and Pakistan some two weeks from now.

    President Bush has said that once the details of the plan are resolved, Congress will be asked to make exceptions to existing U.S. nonproliferation law and to approve a separate agreement for nuclear cooperation with India.

    Of course current law, the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, bars trade with states like India that do not accept full-scope international safeguards. And I would also note that Article I of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids the United States from assisting another state's nuclear weapons program in any way.

    If Congress and also the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group do approve this deal, countries could supply nuclear fuel and equipment to India for civil purposes under international safeguards. And in exchange India has said that it will, "assume the same responsibilities and practices of the five original nuclear-weapon states."

    Now, the Arms Control Association and my colleagues here today organized this briefing to take a closer look at the proposal and to shed some light on what we consider to be some of the key issues that are at the center of this arrangement and at the center of what Congress should be evaluating.

    Our overarching message today is that it's important that the United States and India continue to build their relationship and strengthen the nonproliferation system. However, the purported benefits of the July 18 proposal for nuclear cooperation are negligible and the risks are actually very substantial. And unless Congress legislates significant changes to the original plan when they receive proposals from the administration, the damage to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Nuclear Suppliers Group will be severe.

    So this morning our panelists and I are going to examine three main issues upon which the nuclear cooperation deal hinges. First, David Albright from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is going to examine the technical implications of the civil military separation scenarios that are reportedly under consideration.

    As you might know, for the moment, the proposed cooperation arrangement is hung up on differences between the Bush administration and the Singh UPA government over which facilities will fall into the civilian and which will fall into the military sectors. And those civil facilities would also have some kind of safeguards to guard against the diversion of foreign nuclear technology assistance or fuel for weapons purposes.

    Now, David is a physicist, as I said the president of the Institute for Science and International Security. He conducts extensive research on the weapons programs of various states and is best known perhaps for his seminal work on plutonium and highly enriched uranium, world inventories, capabilities, and policies.

    Second, we are going to hear from Leonard Weiss who served for more than two decades as a staff director for the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. From 1977 to 1999 he served as Senator John Glenn's advisor on arms control, science, technology, and energy, and was the chief architect of the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act. He is going to address the cost-benefit equation of the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement.

    And then following their presentations I am going to come back and summarize the concerns and the bottom-line recommendations of several fellow experts about the nuclear cooperation proposal, which are outlined in a letter that is in your packet that was delivered yesterday to the House and Senate offices. That was a response to State Department responses to questions from Senator Lugar and Congressman Edward Markey. And then afterwards we are going to take your questions.

    So with that we'll invite David to the podium. Thanks for being with us, David. And please if you have cell phones, switch them into the silent mode.

    DAVID ALBRIGHT: Thank you, Daryl. What I would like to try to do at least is outline or add some clarity to this whole discussion of splitting or separating the Indian military and civil programs. And then I would like to touch upon another area involving export controls and the risks that India could become an important place where onward proliferation can occur. And I may not have as much time to go into that as I want but happy to talk about it.

    We're certainly going to be releasing things in the future on that because a lot of focus at ISIS is on elicit nuclear trade and particularly how onward proliferation can happen from the best of your friends. And we don't think India is prepared for it.

    Let me go back to the basic topic that I have been assigned, which is to discuss the separation of the military and civilian programs in India. And one of your handouts is a study we did in December where we outlined what we thought was a good split based on a very simple criteria: What everyone else does. And we looked at what do the weapon-states do? What do they call civilian? What do they call military? What do the non-weapon states do when they have been - before they join the Nonproliferation Treaty and were thinking about things?

    And in all cases, the facilities that are subject to safeguards or put on a civilian list are power reactors, civil research facilities, research reactors, reprocessing plants that reprocess the power reactor fuel and breeder reactors - everywhere. And in fact, I must say, one of my first tasks in the early 1980s when I started my career in nonproliferation was an informal cooperation with the U.S. government to stop France from militarizing its Super-Phoenix breeder reactor.

    And it never reached a head although the U.S. government clearly stated to the French in demarche that you cannot do that. And I won't go into the reasons why. I have an old article from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that I can refer you to, but the idea was if you have a lot of non-nuclear-weapon states involved in a project you can't - and it involves their nuclear material, you can't use it for military purposes.

    I must say when we published this study I was surprised by the reaction in India. I expected a critical reaction but I didn't expect to be called an Ayatollah. (Laughter.) I'm a president of an institute but I wasn't quite prepared for the kind of the viciousness of the response. And I will come back to that later because I think it is part of the problem India faces in trying to integrate with the rest of the world.

    In our plan we also added a centrifuge plan in India. And certainly we knew that would be controversial. But what we based it on was that if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is going to go in and do safeguards in India, it shouldn't create a precedent that will make its job harder elsewhere. And right now the IAEA is safeguarding naval enrichment plans in Brazil, and the Brazilians have accepted that safeguards would be put on their naval enrichment plants.

    Some of you may know there is another enrichment plan in Brazil called the Resende Plant, but these are two naval enrichment plants at naval facilities that are under safeguards, both by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the regional organization ABACC (Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials). So we didn't feel that it was useful for the IAEA to create an exemption in India that Brazil or others may try to exploit.

    Again, we understand it's controversial, but we also think that if this facility, the centrifuge plant is for naval fuel, which we think it's principally for - it's expanding as we speak. They are trying to increase the output of the plant - that it should be under safeguards and would not produce material for nuclear weapons. That would also include the prototype naval reactor, which started recently in Kalpakkam.

    The Indian plan, which we were aware of before, and we have learned a lot more since, I think, is a very minimalist plan and I would say it reflects old thinking, isolationist thinking; the thinking of a nuclear establishment that isn't comfortable integrating with the world's nuclear community, prefers its indigenous nature. At some level, I think, it's threatened by this U.S.-India agreement, and I think some of the reactions have reflected that.

    Many of the reasons they have given, such as the IAEA is going to spy on them don't hold any water. Many countries have crossed that bridge and have not felt that the IAEA releases proprietary information. They are certainly not going to slow down the transfer of fuel from the breeder to a reprocessing plant. That was an Indian official's comment. And so I think many of the reasons given by the Indians are simply not true and insult the intelligence of the international community.

    The other part of it is, is that it's kind of a - I would call almost a greedy effort to try to have as much of a plutonium production capability for nuclear weapons as possible, way beyond the needs of India. And in fact it makes me wonder what are Indian plans to build nuclear weapons? Is it that we have to be prepared to build a thousand, two thousand, two hundred, one hundred? And I think that unfortunately this effort to grab everything and put it under some kind of military umbrella also doesn't serve India's interests.

    And let me focus on the breeder reactor, which ultimately, I think the argument will be that it is for military purposes. And, yes, a breeder is a marvelous instrument to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. The prototype reactor that they are building, prototype reader in - what is called its blanket, it is what surrounds the core, we'll probably be able to make about 50 to 75 kilograms of super-grade plutonium a year.

    And that is why the French were interested in the Super-Phoenix reactor; that it was such a marvelous source of plutonium for nuclear weapons - very high grade, which means you can actually dilute it and have more or you can use it in special types of weapons. So, again, it's a very appealing material.

    For background, India makes about 25 to 35 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, slightly lower quality, but fine for nuclear weapons in the Dhruva and CIRUS reactors. And historically that has been more than enough for their needs and I would assert that it is enough for their needs in the future. India doesn't have the kind of capability to suddenly build 50 nuclear weapons in a year. It just doesn't have the infrastructure or I think the appetite for such a large increase, but its arsenal will be increasing relatively slowly over time.

    Another reactor complex that they want to reserve as military is the MAPS one and two reactors (located at Madras), and we have always suspected that in the past those reactors have been used to make weapon-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons, but we're in a key part. I hear that they want to reserve those. They are near the Kalpakkam reprocessing plant, and so you'll have kind of a militarized Kalpakkam facility with the reprocessing plants, MAPS, and the breeder reactor. The prototype is located near there.

    The MAPS reactors are not optimized to make plutonium for weapons. And I will say, there is a lot of disinformation, misinformation in the India press. Reactor grade plutonium is not what bomb makers want to make nuclear weapons. Certainly you can do it, but it really mucks up your yield estimates, your manufacturing complex.

    It's very undesirable to build a nuclear weapons complex where you don't know the type of plutonium coming in, whether it's weapon grade or reactor grade. And I doubt very much that the Indian's nuclear establishment, nuclear weapons establishment is looking to use reactor-grade plutonium in its bombs. But you could use MAPS to make weapon-grade plutonium.

    And the signal they are sending, again, since MAPS are two power reactors, each one has five-times the output of the Dhruva reactor. It is quite a weapon-grade plutonium capability that they are keeping on hand - 200 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium a year roughly. Again, why would India want this? What is it really talking about doing with all of this weapon-grade or super-grade plutonium?

    I would say that it's a debate that the Indians should have. Is this going to be a no-holds bar effort to get nuclear weapons or is this just stubbornness and an old way of thinking that says we need to have the capability to make so much plutonium that our leaders will be satisfied under all cases, even the most extreme worst-case assessments? And that is fine; that is for India to decide.

    But if you want to militarize breeders, don't expect the international community to welcome you with cooperation on breeders. Japan, Germany, France, whoever are not going to want to sit down at the table with people who are using a breeder to make super-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons, and it also poisons the well in terms of openness. I mean, I visited the Dhruva reactor in 1992 in India. I used to visit India.

    We wanted to find out about the gas centrifuge program in the early 1990s. And I have always found the Indian establishment pretty open to a point, but there is a lot of secrecy in the nuclear establishment. And so it was rather amusing to me that I would go visit the Dhruva reactor in 1992 and the reactor manager is open about everything. Yet, if you asked him anything about the spent fuel he was closed. And obviously the spent fuel was sent to the reprocessing plant to be reprocessed and used in Indian nuclear weapons. You can't do that in an international cooperation project on breeder reactors. And so India has to choose. Does it want nuclear weapons capabilities or does it want international cooperation?
    Alright, let me briefly talk about export controls. In our interviews with U.S. officials, dealings with companies, India is known to be targeted by proliferate states. And with its rapid industrialization, much of which is based on pretty good technology from developed countries, India's attractiveness to proliferate states can be expected to increase. And Indian national export controls are the main defense against illegal or dangerous exports from Indian companies.

    However, India's control system is poorly implemented and its export control officials are inexperienced. And many Indian companies are unaware of their own national export control laws and government outreach programs are only in their infancy. And with private Indian companies committed to sales both domestically and internationally, Indian export controls are inadequate to provide assurances that dangerous exports will not occur.

    Now, what does this mean? We have just gone through this horrendous situation with the Khan network. And one of the surprises of the Khan network was that the two very important nodes were located in our allies: South Africa and Switzerland, both countries with very good export controls on the books, but both countries were unable to implement their export controls to stop major proliferation involving centrifuge components, centrifuge equipment, nuclear weapons design information.

    You have to ask yourself is this deal moving too fast, way beyond the ability of India to manage onward proliferation? And I would say it is and there needs to be some careful thinking about how you increase trade with India and make sure that it doesn't end up in the hands of Iran either through retransfer or through reverse engineering and sales.

    And given the experience in the Khan network is that it doesn't - it's almost worse if India is our friend, and the reason is - and we saw this over and over again in the case of South Africa is that companies relax their standards and they freely send things - they freely send things to South Africa and those things were then retransferred or used within equipment that then was sent to the Libyan nuclear weapons program.

    And so if you don't have robust export controls that are implemented effectively then you are extremely vulnerable to onward proliferation. Let me stop there. I'll be happy to take questions. I could go on but I think I have talked too much. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: All right, thank you, David. We will come back to questions after all three of us are done. Len Weiss, please come to the podium. Len is going to cover the cost-benefit equation on non-proliferation.

    LEONARD WEISS: The administration claims that the agreement will enhance nonproliferation efforts, but I have to say after examining at least what has been released thus far, it's very hard to come to that conclusion. My view is that unless the agreement as it stands right now is substantially modified as a result of the ongoing negotiations, the U.S.-India nuclear deal will contribute to an increased risk of proliferation and nuclear war and will do so in at least five ways.

    First, it permits India with few concessions to accelerate its production of nuclear weapons by reserving its entire indigenous production of uranium and its stockpile of plutonium for weapons manufacture or weapons-related. Second, it undermines the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by devaluing the commitments made by non-nuclear-weapon states in order to receive peaceful nuclear technology assistance and by weakening weapons state commitments under Article I of the treaty.

    Third, it strengthens the resolve of Iranian nationalists to defy the international community by creating a bad precedent for treating violators of nuclear agreements.

    Fourth, it demolishes the norm of full-scope safeguards as a criterion for exporting nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to non-signers of the NPT.

    Fifth, it raises questions about the commitment of the nuclear-weapon states to nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT.

    I would now like to discuss in detail these five points. First, on India's weapon production. Currently, as we know, India has to divide its indigenous uranium production between military and civilian applications. One of the reasons that India is interested in a nuclear deal is that it doesn't have the uranium fuel production capacity to fulfill its weapon and civilian nuclear power goals simultaneously. So the U.S.-India deal enables India to ramp up its weapons production.

    Now, Pakistan, having fought three wars with India since 1948 is sure to follow suit in ramping up its own production of nuclear weapons perhaps with foreign help, thereby accelerating the nuclear arms race in South Asia. In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Steve Coll recounts how over a few months between December 2001 and May 2002 India and Pakistan went to the brink of war as a result of vicious jihadist attacks on India that the Indians believe were assisted by Pakistan. At the same time Pakistan believes that India provides covert support for insurgent groups in Pakistan including the separatists in Baluchistan.

    Both are probably correct in their beliefs and are using surrogates to inflict damage on each other. But as Coll points out, the surrogates are not completely controllable; they have their own agendas and they might even conclude that their cause could benefit from war between India and Pakistan. Terrorist attacks as we have seen in our own country can put an attack nation in a jingoistic mood and cloud judgment. During the crisis in 2001 and 2002, some Indians were quoted as boasting they could lose Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta, and still annihilate Pakistan.

    This kind of talk contributed to a discussion of evacuation plan by our embassy, then headed by Ambassador Robert Blackwill, a major proponent of the U.S.-India nuclear deal. The national security advisor to then Prime Minister Vajpayee told Coll that India did indeed come very close to launching an attack on Pakistan but that Vajpayee decided against it because he wanted to retire being known as a man of peace.

    The jihadi groups are still operating and the risk of an event that could bring on war between India and Pakistan still exists. That war could very well be a nuclear war. The question is this a time to provide impetus for both sides to ramp up their weapon production and how is this in the U.S. national security interest.

    The second point about the NPT: There are 189 countries in the world that have signed the treaty. Except for the recognized five weapons states, and leaving aside North Korea, that leaves 183 nations that have pledged to not make nuclear weapons and have their pledge verified through full-scope safeguards applied by the IAEA. In return under Article IV of the treaty, those countries are entitled to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to receive assistance in that development.

    For at least some of those countries, including Japan, Germany, and Brazil, the decision to give up their right to make nuclear weapons was not an easy one. So let's compare what these countries must do to receive nuclear trade with what the Indians must do under the U.S.-India agreement.

    First, as mentioned, the non-nuclear-weapon states under the NPT cannot make nuclear weapons while India can make all of the weapons it wants. Second, all of the non-nuclear-weapon states under the NPT must accept safeguards on all of the nuclear materials and facilities. Under the U.S.-India agreement, India need only accept safeguards on its designated peaceful nuclear facilities. Moreover, the Indians are arguing for voluntary safeguards which can be removed at any time similar to what the nuclear-weapon states under the NPT now do.

    The Indians have also indicated, as David pointed out, that they will oppose placing safeguards on their breeder program, including their breeder R&D program and the reactors needed to produce plutonium for the breeder. If this demand is met, it would mean a large-scale future increase in India's weapon production capacity. This is in contrast to NPT parties with breeder programs like Japan whose programs are completely covered by IAEA safeguards.

    Although the administration has indicated that the U.S. has no intention of assisting the Indian breeder program, it's difficult to see how the U.S. will avoid doing so indirectly via sales of dual-use equipment and technology, sales that will also likely help India's weapon program more broadly. It's not a stretch to argue that in carrying out this agreement, the United States will be in violation of its commitment under Article I of the NPT to not assist in any way a non-nuclear-weapon state as defined under the NPT - and that includes India - to make nuclear weapons.

    The apparent double standard that allows India to escape full-scope safeguards and still obtain nuclear assistance while countries like Japan, Germany, and Brazil are held to a tougher standard is a prescription for trouble. Countries may not leave the NPT over this issue, although one can't be absolutely sure of that. But the commitments of countries to the treaty will surely be weakened and may show up in lower support for tough measures of enforcement for violators or nuclear norms. It will make it easier for China to assist Pakistan in its nuclear weapons program and for Russia to assist Iran without anyone suggesting that those countries are in violation of Article I.

    Now speaking of Iran, the aggressive stance taken toward Iranian nuclear safeguard violations stands in sharp contrast to the forgiveness of Indian transgressions represented by the U.S.-India nuclear agreement. Indeed, the chief Iranian negotiator, Ali Larijani referenced the deal with India in one of his statements complaining of discrimination against Iran. The administration has tried to soft pedal India's nuclear violations in its answers to a series of questions posed by Senator Lugar about the nuclear deal.

    Please recall that India claimed at the time of its 1974 test explosion that it was a "peaceful nuclear explosion," and was therefore in keeping with the contract it signed with the Canada and the U.S. for the reactor and the heavy water that was used to produce the plutonium for their explosive device. In its answers to Lugar, the administration said it was not possible to determine whether India's actions in 1974 were inconsistent with the peaceful-use pledge for the heavy water.

    It said that that was due to the factual uncertainty as to whether U.S.-supplied heavy water contributed to the production of the plutonium used for the device and the lack of mutual understanding of the scope of the 1956 contract language pertaining to the U.S. heavy water in India.

    Well, that answer leaves out two important facts. First about the heavy water: The administration has raised an issue which was actually raised and settled at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs 30 years ago, in 1976. The State Department of the Ford administration at that time had claimed that the heavy water provided by the U.S. to India for the CIRUS research reactor, which had begun operating in 1960 was gone by 1974 due to a leakage rate of 10 percent per year in the reactor.

    However, Canadian nuclear scientists told the committee at that time that the leakage rate was closer to 1 percent per year. A simple calculation shows that even with a loss rate of 10 percent per year, the percentage of U.S. heavy water in the reactor would still be about 23 percent in 1974, and of course most of the plutonium for the test was produced earlier than the date of the explosion. It is undoubtedly the case that there was a high likelihood of U.S. heavy water involved not only in 1974 but in the 1998 tests as well.

    Now, as to the mutual understanding of the heavy water contract, four years before the Indian test in 1974, the U.S. government presented India with a second aide-memoire that reiterated and clarified what peaceful purposes meant. I learned about this document during the Senate debate over the application of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act to a proposed nuclear fuel shipment to the Tarapur reactors in India.

    On behalf of Senator Glenn, for whom I was working at the time, I asked the State Department to declassify the document, and they did so on September 19th, 1980. For some reason this document has not played much of a role in the debate thus far over the U.S.-India agreement so I would now like to read this. It's two pages. It is attached to my statement as an appendix because it shows the utter disingenuousness of the State Department answer to Senator Lugar.

    Here is what the document says, and I'm reading it as it was written:

    "The United States government has noted various affirmations of Indian interests in developing the technology of peaceful nuclear explosions as well as statements that the government of India is not planning for a nuclear explosion.

    Occasionally in the public debate on the nuclear issue, the question has been raised as to whether under extant agreements the government of India could legitimately use foreign-supplied nuclear technologies or materials to manufacture an explosive device to be used in a detonating a peaceful nuclear explosion."

    We are talking now - this document is from 1970.

    "We believe the government of India is aware of the American interpretation of agreements under which the United States has assisted India's development in the field of atomic energy. However, we would like to reiterate the American view in the interest of clarity and to obviate any misunderstanding.

    "The American position reflected in the Nonproliferation Treaty is that the technology of nuclear explosives for peaceful uses is indistinguishable from that of nuclear weapons and that any nuclear explosive device that would be intended for benign economic purposes could also be used for destructive purposes.

    "The development of such explosives therefore is tantamount to the development of nuclear weapons. Any other position would be inconsistent with the United States obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty and the United States Atomic Energy Act.

    "Consequently, the United States would consider it incompatible with existing United States-Indian agreements through American nuclear assistance to be employed in the development of peaceful nuclear explosive devices. Specifically, for example, the use for the development of peaceful nuclear explosive devices of plutonium produced there from would be considered by the United States a contravention of the terms under which the American materials were made available.

    "The United States interprets the safeguards and guarantees provisions of the Tarapur agreement as prohibiting the use of American materials and equipment or materials produced from such materials and equipment for research on or development of any nuclear explosive devices regardless of stated applications.

    "The contract under which the United States sold heavy water to India for the CIRUS reactor states the heavy water sold hereunder shall be for the use only in India by the government in connection with research into and the use of the atomic energy for peaceful purposes. The United States would not consider the use of plutonium produced in CIRUS for peaceful nuclear explosives intended for any purposes to be research into and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes."

    Okay, now I think that demolishes the administration's argument at least in terms of their answer to Senator Lugar.

    Now, let me just say a word about - oh, let me just mention one other thing. There was a quote - Raj Ramanna, the former director of India's nuclear program, speaking to the press trust of India on October 10th, 1997, said this, quote: "The Pokhran test" - that is the 1974 explosion - "was a bomb, I can tell you now. An explosion is an explosion. A gun is a gun, whether you shoot at someone or shoot at the ground. I just want to make clear that the test was not all that peaceful."

    Independently of the amount of U.S. heavy water still extant in the CIRUS reactor, India has for over 30 years been in continuous violation of the peaceful-use requirement that Canada placed on the reactor. Is it any wonder that Iranian nationalists could look at this record and conclude that they are being singled out for adverse discriminatory treatment?

    More to the point, if the Indians do not acknowledge publicly that their claim of not having violated the CIRUS related contracts was a false claim, then how we can be sure that a similar sham interpretation of a new nuclear agreement with the U.S. will not occur again that might allow a cross over of civilian activities into the military program?

    The fourth point is about full-scope safeguards. Full-scope safeguards has basically evolved into a global norm. It was initially in U.S. law under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978; it was adopted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1992, so all of the suppliers agreed to have that as an export criterion, and it has been reaffirmed in two meetings of the NPT parties - the review conferences of 1995 and 2000.

    The United States-India agreement basically shreds this export criterion, and the United States will seek to change the law and to get the nuclear suppliers group to allow an exemption for India in order for this, for full-scope safeguards not to be applied.

    It's hard to see how the United States if it does this will persuade additional countries to agree to the more intrusive safeguards associated with the so-called additional protocol to IAEA safeguards agreements. Cooperation from other countries to accept more intrusive safeguards than they currently do will be much more difficult to get if we give India this favor.

    And finally, India and the nuclear-weapon states: What is particularly amazing about the U.S.-India deal is that it not only recognizes and legitimizes India's nuclear weapons, it actually requires less of the Indians than what the five recognized nuclear-weapon states have already committed to do in furtherance of their obligations under Article VI of the treaty.

    Unlike India, the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, and China have all agreed to cease production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and all have signed onto the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), although the U.S. is yet to ratify the treaty. India's agreement to continue its voluntary moratorium on testing is less binding than a signature on an international treaty.

    Moreover, although the U.S. has backtracked from its agreement with the other weapon states at the 2000 NPT review conference, to follow the so-called 13 practical steps to fulfill their obligation to pursue systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI, the basic requirement of pursuing good-faith efforts toward nuclear disarmament is still extant.

    The U.S.-India agreement puts no such requirements on the Indians, thus the Indians are being treated more favorably than the nuclear-weapon states under the NPT. This will be interpreted by some as blatant evidence of contempt by the United States and other weapons states toward the requirements of Article VI. The fight over the inclusion of Article VI at the time of the negotiations of the NPT suggests that this will be a continual irritant every time the NPT review conference convenes with unpredictable consequences for nonproliferation in the future.

    To sum up, unless the negotiations with the Indians produce a clear nonproliferation benefit, including at the very least an end to fissile material production for nuclear weapons, the deal is a net loss in the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons and raises the risk of nuclear war. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Alright, thank you very much, Len. I would like to focus just a little bit further just for a couple of more minutes before we get to questions, on one of the issues that Len just touched upon. The supply of foreign nuclear fuel to India, which is one of the things that India very much wants out of this arrangement, would free up India's existing capacity to produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons and allow for the rapid expansion of India's nuclear arsenal.

    And as you suggested, this could constitute a violation or at least a contradiction of the United States' own commitment under Article I of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty not to assist in any way the nuclear weapons program of another state. Now, this is not an idle concern. There are some in India, including K. Subrahmanyan, who have openly argued that in order to expand India's arsenal, it should categorize as many reactors as possible as civilian to facilitate foreign refueling and conserve India's scarce native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production.

    Now, as David Albright said, India has plans, ambitions to produce a substantially larger arsenal that it's believed to have today - somewhere in the low hundreds is what some of the plans suggest. Now, in response to questions from Congress on this very point, the State Department in their January 17 responses does not deny this possibility, the freeing up of India's domestic capacity, and it simply asserts that, "The growth of India's nuclear program is evidently not constrained by access to natural uranium."

    Now this response does not take into account several scenarios that could allow India to use newly allocated domestic uranium to support fissile material production for weapons purposes. Now, some of these are related to how the civil military separation plan comes down and David was outlining some of the other scenarios that could allow India to increase its arsenal.

    So for instance, if India built a new plutonium production reactor or designated some of its existing civilian heavy water reactors like the MAPS reactors that David mentioned for the military program to augment its two existing plutonium reactors, CIRUS and Dhruva, the additional increased consumption of domestic uranium supplies for plutonium production would be compensated for - by access to imported uranium for safeguarded power reactors. And if India no longer needs to rely on domestic uranium to fuel its power reactors, it could also expand the small-scale centrifuge enrichment program to make highly enriched uranium to support the weapons program.

    Now, in our letters to Congress, the November 18th letter that was originally sent and the letter that was just delivered yesterday, we recommended that Congress seek remedies that ensure that India commits to halt fissile material production for weapons purposes pending a fissile material production cutoff treaty (FMCT). And as we note, as Len just did, that the five original nuclear-weapon states are all believed to have suspended fissile material production for weapons purposes. If India is going to live up to the responsibilities of the advanced nuclear-weapon states, this is one of those responsibilities.

    Now, Indian officials insist that this proposal for nuclear cooperation should have nothing to do with India's strategic weapons program. They say that a fissile material production cutoff is just not on the table. And as Foreign Secretary Saran said I think from this very podium in December, "These suggestions are deal breakers." Well, perhaps they are, but if India is really only interested in a minimum credible deterrent, there is no need for additional fissile material production.

    And there are consequences that the United States needs to keep in mind if India does continue to expand its fissile material production and its arsenal relating to Pakistan's program and China's program, which does continue to expand. And I would argue that it's in the U.S. and India's interest to cap the programs, cap the growth of the nuclear arsenals amongst these three countries.

    Now, Indian officials are quick to note that when they reject the idea of a fissile material cutoff, that India supports a verifiable global treaty to cut off fissile-material production for weapons purposes. This was actually noted in the July 18th statement. However, we have to remember that has been India's position for many years, and that is very good.

    But at the same time, U.S. opposition to a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty is right now blocking progress on its negotiation. You just have to look back to Dafna Linzer's Washington Post story from July 2004, which reported that the Bush administration had come to the conclusion that a fissile material cutoff treaty is not verifiable and therefore the Bush administration will not support negotiations of this treaty at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament.

    The FMCT has been on the international arms control agenda since the original NPT negotiations in the late 1960s. And it is not likely going to be concluded, so long as the United States maintains its current position, and so long as no other state presses the United States to change its position.

    Now, this U.S. view on the FMCT defies logic. Verification of the FMCT, which by the way would only focus on those states that have the capacity to produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium, could be accomplished via a system nearly identical to the IAEA's comprehensive safeguards system, which is the very system that the Bush administration would like India to accept for the facilities it declares to be civilian.

    Now, failing to pursue a fissile material production cutoff in South Asia also defies U.N. Security Council Resolution 1172. Many of us forget that in 1998 after the Indian and Pakistani nuclear test explosions, the Security Council adopted this resolution. It calls upon India and Pakistan to immediately stop their weapons development programs, halt fissile material production for weapons purposes, and to sign the CTBT among other non-proliferation measures.

    So to conclude on this point, given that negotiations on a verifiable FMCT, which are supported by every state except for the U.S., given that these would likely take some time, even if the U.S. changes its position, the U.S. along with India, Pakistan, and China and all other states capable of producing fissile material could and should announce unilateral reciprocal moratoria on all fissile material production for weapons, pending the completion of a verifiable FMCT.

    Now, it's of course, as David Albright mentioned, up to India to choose whether it wants to keep its nuclear weapons options open. Why it should, I'm not quite sure, but it is up to India to do that or to decide whether it wants to expand its nuclear energy production sector. However, we have to note here, and I would remind those who are reporting for papers in India, that it is the responsibility of the president of the United States and Congress not to aid another country's nuclear weapons program. And so indeed, this I think needs to be an issue that the Congress takes a close look at and continues to press other states to restrain fissile material production.

    Now, just to conclude our entire session here, I'd also just like to note that as proponents of the nuclear cooperation deal argue, there is every reason to believe that the United States and India will continue to work side-by-side on various issues for years to come, whether it's fighting terrorism, energy cooperation, human development, military-to-military contacts, that will continue. And if Congress acts in ways to address this nuclear cooperation deal's proliferation risks, bilateral Indo-U.S. relations should still survive quite well and prosper in fact. Otherwise, the basic premise of a strategic partnership between the United States and India is deeply suspect. So to conclude, making far-reaching exceptions to existing nonproliferation rules might only be justified if the nonproliferation and disarmament benefits of this arrangement significantly strengthened the nonproliferation system. But as of now, they do not. And we hope that Congress will consider the full implications of the proposed arrangement in the coming months, and pursue additional stipulations that might result in a more positive outcome for U.S. and international security.

    So with that, we'll open up the floor to your questions. I think we do have a microphone, which will come to you when you raise your hand. Please identify yourself and we'll get started. Anyone have a question? Yes, sir.

    QUESTION: I am Sean Battier (sp). I am the foreign editor of Deccan Herald Newspaper from Bangalore. Leonard, if I might ask you my question first. Why are you projecting this in a kind of we're the good guys, they're the bad guys sort of dimension, and why aren't you looking at the U.S. role in effectively conniving in proliferation over so many years? I'm thinking, for example, of how the U.S. responded to China's repeated violations of the NPT by supplying design technology to Pakistan, how the United States connived in effect in the Khan network. I remember interviewing President Zia in the 1980s when he disclosed to me that Pakistan had started to enrich uranium. I think in those days to 15 percent. And I remember going to the U.S. Ambassador at the time in Islamabad and he said, "so what?" So I mean, could you just address these issues please? And I suppose you could also put into this U.S. connivance by supplying the heavy water to India? So it all fits into a pattern. I mean, the pattern seems to me that the NPT is a dead duck and has been - I mean, with all due respect to yourself - has been for a long time.

    WEISS: Well, first of all, if you have been reading the stuff I have been writing over a period of years, you would notice that I have in fact attacked the United States for its policy in Pakistan. You are quite right about the U.S. involvement in allowing the Pakistanis to obtain nuclear weapons. As far as the U.S. sending the heavy water to India, please remember that there was no NPT at the time that contract was signed. It was signed in 1956. The agreement called for peaceful purposes only, as I read in the document, and so the United States could been said, perhaps, to be a little naïve at the time in having signed such a contract and not have verifiable safeguards attached to the agreement. But that was the case with nuclear technology sales and assistance almost everywhere at that time.

    With respect to - coming back to the Pakistan issue, I think there is no question about the fact that the United States probably could have rolled up the Khan network - the original Khan network that enabled Pakistan to get the bomb. At the time, there must have been a number of statements from CIA people who were following the program to that effect. We didn't do it, and as a result, Dr. Khan was able to expand his network in a way that allowed nuclear weapons technology to go to Iran and North Korea and Libya, and perhaps other countries as well. But I am certainly not whitewashing the United States role in pointing out the transgressions of India in the past 30 years.

    KIMBALL: Okay. Yes, sir?

    QUESTION: I'm Bruce Fein from the Litchfield Group. I have two questions for Mr. Weiss. If the nuclear cooperation agreement does not go forward, do you expect that the Article VI obligation of the nuclear-weapons states to seek disarmament in good faith will proceed with some alacrity? And the second question is, if the agreement does not go forth, do you expect India would in some way renounce its nuclear weapons program and lead to a safer military dispensation in Southeast Asia?

    WEISS: All right, let me take the second question first. I do not expect India to renounce its nuclear weapons program. I don't think that's the point. The point is, is it right for the United States to provide some sort of assistance for that program essentially to advance and to increase India's weapons production capability. The Indians, of course, have every right to make nuclear weapons. They did not sign the NPT. That doesn't mean that we ought to support them in the exercise of that right. It is important, I want to say, for the United States and India to have good bilateral relations. I am not arguing against having good bilateral relations with India. But please remember that the nuclear program of India, its peaceful nuclear program, represents only 3 percent of the amount of generated electricity in India. It is not a major contributor to India's energy development. And by assisting the Indians, we are sending signals that we don't believe ourselves in the Nonproliferation Treaty. And we're in essence going to change our laws if this deal goes through in a way, which people will interpret as a lack of seriousness on the part of the United States.

    The first question about Article VI - no, I don't. If the agreement doesn't go through, that does not mean that the nuclear-weapon states are going to agree to the ultimate goals of Article VI with any further amount of alacrity than they have shown thus far. But the fact of the matter is that Article VI does exist. It is part of the so-called grand bargain that was struck when the NPT was negotiated and anything that the weapon states do to indicate to the rest of the world that we don't believe in the ultimate goal of Article VI is a detriment to the health of the treaty.

    KIMBALL: Let me just also note on this point that - I mean, one of the things we're trying to point out here is that the nonproliferation system has established certain norms and standards. This agreement seeks exceptions to these norms and standards. So if the nonproliferation system is to survive - and I think it can and it must - this is not the time, especially when it is under such enormous stress from the twin challenges of North Korea and Iran, to deal it further blows by eviscerating the full-scope safeguard standard, by diminishing the importance of progress by all states on disarmament. So just to back up what Len is saying, I think those are a couple of additional points. We have the gentleman up here in front and then we'll go to the back row.

    QUESTION: I am Naim Zalik (ph) from Pakistan. I would like to ask the question from both David and Len. Is there any possibility that this deal for augmenting India's nuclear energy program may have been offered by the U.S. to prevent India from going ahead with the gas pipeline deal with Iran?

    KIMBALL: You want to try that one?

    ALBRIGHT: I hate to do a Scott McClellan, but you should ask the State Department. (Chuckles.)

    KIMBALL: Yeah, I think we haven't brought up the Iran issue, and it's purposeful because that's another issue. I mean, there are some proponents of this arrangement who believe that the deal is going to draw India into the U.S. sphere of influence or that the promise of this deal may encourage India to vote certain ways at certain boards of governors meetings. I think in the end, especially over the long-term, I mean, such suggestions are - they're inappropriate and they're not realistic, because India has a long history of being independent, and it will continue to be independent. And it is seeking good relations with all of its neighbors. So if anyone in the administration is trying to use this deal or trying to persuade India not to build this gas pipeline that would bring energy from Iran to India, I think they are probably mistaken. But that's not what we are really addressing here, but those are some thoughts on that. Yes, if you go to Chuck, please.

    QUESTION: Charles Ferguson, Council of Foreign Relations. I'd like to bring up the issues of nuclear terrorism that hasn't really been raised yet, and I'd like to direct my question to David Albright. I'd like you to comment on India's possible use of highly enriched uranium in the civilian sector. I've talked to a MIT nuclear engineering professor recently, and he said that India might use highly enriched uranium - which is the easiest material for terrorists to use in a nuclear weapon - that's very well known - India might use this in their breeder reactors to get them started. And then recently I asked an Indian official, a former official, is there any plans for India to use highly enriched uranium in their breeder program. He said oh no, absolutely not. So I'd like David to comment on that and talk about possible uses of this dangerous material in the civilian sector. Thanks.

    ALBRIGHT: I don't know what they're planning to do on the breeder. I mean, our estimates are they're short on separated plutonium. I mean, we may be wrong but they're going to have trouble fueling the prototype, particularly if it starts in around 2009, and particularly having enough separated plutonium in the pipeline to guarantee continued operation if a problem develops. I mean, often in these breeders, they really have a startup problem. Part of the reason the conflict between the United States and France never materialized on Super-Phoenix is the reactor just never operated very well. And it quickly shut down. But they had to have a second core ready for that reactor, and they may have had to implement that strategy. So in that plan they needed to have ten tons of plutonium fuel made for that reactor.

    And in Indian case, I'm not sure they have enough. And so, maybe they would consider highly enriched uranium. I mean, we see that they're trying to expand the capacity of the RMP and they don't need it for naval, and I don't think they want to use it for weapons. Again, our estimates are it's a slowly increasing nuclear arsenal. There isn't a rush to build. And so perhaps they are creating a backup to be able to make highly enriched uranium, because again, as you know, many breeder reactors had their first cores made out of highly enriched uranium, so it's not unheard of and it may be an intention.

    Now, in terms of beyond that, India, I think on research reactors, at least one they've talked about building they've been part of the effort on the ITER program so that the fuel would be low enriched uranium. They have one small civil research reactor that uses highly enriched uranium, but it's about no more than a kilogram a year and it often doesn't operate very well. So I think the Indians have stayed away from highly enriched uranium and that's to be commended and I hope it continues.

    WEISS: Can I make a point about this? I have no idea what the Indian plans are for increasing their enrichment capacity in the future. But if they intend to do so in a big way, even though it is the case that centrifuge enrichment does not require as much electricity to drive it as a gaseous diffusion plant does, India may have to - or may feel that they need to have more a nuclear electrical-generating plant for the purpose of producing electricity to drive a future large-scale enrichment facility, in which case, if that's the case, and if U.S. assistance enables that to happen, we would in another way be contributing to the Indian nuclear weapons program because an electrical generating plant used to drive a centrifuge enrichment plan, and also to produce electricity for other purposes would not be detectable as an element of the India nuclear weapons program.

    KIMBALL: Yes, sir, right here.

    QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Masa Ota with Japanese Wire Kyodo News. I will question to any member of the panel, including Mr. Kimball. Two weeks ago, Secretary Bodman, Energy Department, he made a new announcement about a global nuclear energy partnership (GNEP). This new idea came up so abruptly and Indian officials so far have sounded support over this idea. So can any panel member analyze any linkage or connection between these two factors in the U.S. nuclear deal and those who are GNEP factor? And also what kind of an impact would this U.S. and the Indian deal have on the future GNEP program? Thank you very much.

    ALBRIGHT: Let me make one simple point. It's just I think if India safeguards most of its nuclear facilities including the breeders, the reprocessing plants, the world nuclear community may welcome India into many international initiatives that would benefit India. If it chooses to isolate itself through limiting safeguards, then I don't think it will gain much from those programs.

    KIMBALL: But, as I understand the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, Indian participation is still dependent on the changes to U.S. nonproliferation law and nuclear cooperation agreement that this July 18th nuclear cooperation proposal would require. In other words, the GNEP proposal involves the supply of fuel for nuclear reactors, the return of that fuel to the United States and Russia, and the United States and Russia would dispose of that. So another aspect of possible Indian participation is that it might be involved in advanced reprocessing technology research. At this point, it is not clear to me what type of participation the United States is offering to India as part of this deal. But it would seem to me that on the basis of what we've seen so far that that cooperation would still be dependent on making the changes to U.S. law that this July 18th proposal would require.

    We have a question here and then we'll go to the two gentlemen in the back.

    QUESTION: (Inaudible) - India Globe/Asia Today. My question is that - sorry, for coming late. I had another function. What can we expect from that commitment of President Bush to India and also the agreement, which was July 18th signed here at the White House between the Prime Minister of India and President Bush. As strategic relationship and the U.S.-India relationships are concerned, what is coming out of this and is he going to take anything with him as far as this agreement is concerned so that he can make his case and the prime minister can make his case with the opposition leaders back home in India that what they have and what they can expect from this.

    KIMBALL: Alright, well, I think I'll take a cue from David, an answer to an earlier question. I'm not Scott McClellan and I don't know what the president is taking to India. You know, it appears from the press reports - we're reading the same things you're seeing - that there are difficulties in reaching an agreement between Washington and New Delhi on the civil military separation plan. And until such time as that is concluded, the progress on this entire arrangement is going to be slow. And the administration has said they're not going to forward legislation to Congress to make changes.

    So and I've also read, as many of you have read, the comments of the commissioner of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy, which make clear that the position of India going into the December talks with Undersecretary Burns and the January talks was to exclude a large number of facilities - civilian facilities - from international safeguards. This is what David Albright was talking about in his remarks. And so, even that separation plan is unacceptable to the Bush administration according to my understanding and according to the responses that the State Department has sent back to Capitol Hill. So it is quite possible that the deal could remain hung up on this issue before it even gets to Congress or the Nuclear Suppliers Group. So I'm looking forward to seeing what happens during President Bush's trip as you are.

    Yes, a couple of folks back here.

    QUESTION: Hi. Scott Morrissey. This is a question for the panel. A few months ago, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei voiced something he has said elsewhere that he actually supports the Indian nuclear deal. From what you're saying, that would complicate their efforts to get wide ratification of the additional protocol and get Brazilian naval facilities under safeguards, and as far as I can tell, in other ways just dig the IAEA's own grave. Can either of you either explain or otherwise critique this logic?

    KIMBALL: David, do you have any insights about -

    ALBRIGHT: Yeah, I've never asked him why do you support this? I mean, I've had discussions with senior safeguards people who have very mixed feelings. I mean, if India accepts sort of the ISIS plan, it's the biggest increase in safeguards since the NPT, because India has so many facilities and these power reactors are tough to safeguard, because they're these CANDU-type, and so you have online refueling. And in fact their preference would be that if we're going to safeguard India, focus on the reprocessing plants and enrichment plants. And I heard clear signal that they felt that they would like (inaudible) under safeguards. So I think they're in a sense the practitioners. They have to the think about the costs, how to implement it, and I don't think they see much benefit in safeguarding everything in India, and they prefer to focus on the things that really give you some clarity about a civil/military split, namely the reprocessing plants and enrichment plants.

    I can speculate. ElBaradei likes to see things increase or go in a general direction. I mean, I don't know what he'll respond in the end when an agreement is actually signed and the IAEA is turned to and say, okay, go safeguard these places and you come up with the money.

    WEISS: Please remember that the charter of the IAEA makes the agency a promoter of nuclear energy and ElBaradei may very well have been expressing an opinion based upon his position as the head of an agency that is in business not just to safeguard nuclear facilities, but to promote nuclear energy generally. I think that, again agreeing with what David said, the expansion of the agency's mandate in India to more facilities is something that would be a plus in a certain sense. But I think it is also the case that we'll probably have to wait and see how the agreement really shakes out when the negotiations are over before we know precisely what ElBaradei may think of it.

    KIMBALL: And we have to keep in mind one other thing is that even after the Congress and the NSG would approve this, it would be up to the IAEA to negotiate the safeguards agreement with India on these facilities. Okay, one of the issues that is now in play, now under debate is what kind of safeguards? We didn't really talk too much about this, but this is vital. The Indian government is still - seems to prefer the so-called voluntary safeguards offer that the P-5, the original five nuclear-weapon states, observe. These are symbolic safeguards, meaningless in terms of preventing diversion. The Bush administration is on the record insisting that India accept permanent facility-specific safeguards on all these civilian facilities. In IAEA parlance, those are the CIRC/66 safeguards. India already has four facilities under these kinds of safeguards. So that's one of the fundamental necessities here. It would be up to ElBaradei to negotiate that with India.

    QUESTION: I have a question for Len. Given the fact that the Congress is going to play a major role in what happens, I think it would be useful if he could clarify what Congressional legislation exists that would oppose this arrangement, including the Symington Amendment and the Glenn Amendment. And what action would have to be taken by the administration with Congress in order to go ahead with the deal as it appears to be emerging and what the prospects are that Congress will take a serious and hard look at that kind of legislation.

    WEISS: Well, the law that is the biggest block to U.S.-India cooperation in the nuclear area at this point is the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978, because it requires full scope safeguards for exports of nuclear technology to any non-nuclear-weapon state. And under the definition provided by the NPT, India is considered a non-nuclear-weapon state. The administration would have to either amend the law by simply coming in with an amendment for it for Congress to pass, or it could have Congress introduce what's called a stand-alone bill that would say something to the effect - notwithstanding any other element of U.S. law, we provide an exception for India to receive nuclear technology, or words to that effect, which is the more likely way that I think the issue would be addressed.

    Now, there are other laws that apply to the Indians as well. One is the Symington and the Glenn amendments, which apply to all non-nuclear-weapon states. If anybody imports or exports nuclear enrichment technology, equipment, or materials without safeguards, they would be cut off from U.S. military and economic cooperation. And the Glenn amendment, which does the same thing with respect to reprocessing technology. The problem here is that there are presidential waivers, which are built into the law that can be exercised, number one.

    And number two, the president of course would have to actually declare a violation in order for the law to be applied. And the violation would have to occur from the time of the last waiver, whenever that was actually passed either by Congress or by presidential executive action. Obviously, this is something that would be difficult for the president to do once he signs an agreement for U.S.-Indian cooperation, but it doesn't mean that it couldn't happen.

    The final law, which I think applies in this case is the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act, which was an expansion of the Glenn amendment to say that if a nuclear test is done by a non-nuclear-weapon state, then a whole variety of sanctions come into play automatically. This in fact happened in 1998 when both India and Pakistan did their nuclear tests, but the Congress immediately came in with an exemption for India and Pakistan with respect to agricultural exports, and then another law, another amendment was passed the following year, which hallowed basically the president to determine whether the law should be implemented. So he issued a waiver that removed all of the sanctions, but if another test were to take place, he would have to issue another waiver in order to prevent the end of nuclear cooperation or the end of the other sanctions, which included many other things besides nuclear.

    KIMBALL: Now, Spurgeon, you had asked about the likelihood that Congress would take a close look. I'll just say a word about that. I mean, Congress, it appears, is in a wait and see mode. In my conversations with a number of offices, they are waiting to see the legislation that would make the changes necessary to these laws that would make this cooperation possible. And I would also note that in preparing this letter that several of us sent to Capitol Hill yesterday, we were reviewing 150-some pages of administration responses to some 90 questions from members of Congress. So the questions are coming in. There have been three hearings by the House International Relations Committee and one by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There will be more hearings to come. So I'm pleased that Congress is looking closely. What they do is not clear yet. It depends a great deal on what the administration presents them and what this separation plan actually looks like, whether it's credible or not.

    QUESTION: I am Paul Walker with Global Green USA. You've all a little bit speculated on the administration rationale for this, but it seems to me very illogical to raise this issue particularly at this point in time, as you've pointed out Daryl, with regard to North Korea and Iran. So I wondered if you all would speculate a little bit more as to what's the real driving rationale for this at this point in time? Is it important in 2006? Is it business interests? Is it promotion of rebuilding of nuclear power industry, globally or in the United States? Or is it something more that we're not quite seeing in this picture?

    And secondly, my second question somewhat unrelated is, do any of you know about the physical security practices in India of nuclear power generation and spent fuel storage? As you know, there is a lot of concern over the design basis that Congressman Markey has raised over the years here, and the vulnerability of nuclear sites to - particularly attack from terrorist groups - and I'm just wondering if there is a proliferation of nuclear energy far above - what is it - 3 percent now that India uses for its nuclear energy production in India, should there be also some stipulation of in fact the physical security at these sites as well. Thank you.

    ALBRIGHT: Yeah, I don't actually know. On the fissile material side, there has been continuing concern that not enough is known here about Indian practices on fissile material, and so it's always been ranked up there in these kinds of analysis. I mean, you first have Russia, but then you have this clustering of China, India, Pakistan. And Pakistan is certainly above India and China, but it's driven by a lack of knowledge, anything seen in other activities that lower your confidence that all the lessons of physical protection have really sunk in and been implemented. I would argue though that one of the reasons to engage India, and I'm certainly not in favor of this agreement going forward except in an extremely slow way, but certainly one of the reasons to engage India is to get U.S. people there, Europeans there who are experts in these kinds of questions on physical protection and work with the Indians to significantly raise their capabilities, because they certainly are targeted by terrorists, and they have an increasing amount of separated plutonium. You've raised this issue of attacking reactors. It makes me worried. I hadn't thought about it, but certainly it's a concern that one would hope India is dealing with and would be open to cooperative efforts with other states that have dealt with it for years and probably dealt with it more effectively.

    WEISS: I don't know whether India has permissive action links on their nuclear weapons. I assume that they probably have some version of them. And I also assume without knowing for sure that the United States has been engaged in discussions with the Indians about that on some level, since we have also been doing something similar with respect to the Pakistanis. On the question of nuclear power or as to why the administration has gone ahead with this agreement up to now, it seems to be a combination of things, and I have no idea what weight to give to each individual element in the combination. But it does include, for example, a desire to push forward nuclear power as an element in sort of a worldwide energy production mix.

    The interesting thing is that the United States is not likely to be the biggest beneficiary of the U.S.-Indian nuclear agreement with respect to our nuclear industry. I mean, it's much more likely, for example, that the French and the Russians would end up selling nuclear reactors to India than the United States, so we would probably be able to sell nuclear fuel and components of some sort. But I think the big buck items are more likely to go to the French and the Russians. Secondly, as reported in The Washington Post, some of the big U.S. defense contractors are likely to benefit from the agreement, because apparently the Indians have told us that they are prepared to spend anywhere from $5 to $15 billion on high-tech, non-nuclear defense technology, which would be a big benefit to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and perhaps others. And finally, there is, of course, the sort of geopolitical issue of whether India could be used or helped by the United States to be a counterweight to China with respect to U.S. interests in Asia. All of these, I think are in play, and as I say, I have no idea what weight to give to each one of them.

    ALBRIGHT: Let me add one thing. In our work on this issue, one thing that surprised me - I forget who asked the question - but the opposition from the U.S. bureaucracy. Over and over again, we hear they were rolled, senior level decision, many the middle level bureaucracy is not comfortable with this agreement for all these reasons we've been talking about. Export controls is a very big one. How does India make this split and make it credible? I haven't heard this - well, let me say this. One of the ironies of this is where India is in its own actions is making it look like it wants an incredible number of nuclear weapons, and so I don't think that was expected, and I think it's a miscalculation on the part of the Indian nuclear establishment. But why would U.S. government officials want to be part of a deal or encourage a deal where India is seizing a right that they've given up and all the other weapons states have given up. Israel isn't launching an expansion of its nuclear arsenal. We don't even think Pakistan is. So India is sort of seizing this moment to create an incredible nuclear weapons production capability beyond any other state in the world. So I am sympathetic to the officials, I must say, and it's certainly affecting our thinking that you don't see much support for this agreement within the bureaucracy.

    KIMBALL: And I think what David just mentioned, I mean, it kind of sums up the overriding concern that we have here, and one of the reasons why we've put this together. And you know to reiterate - we believe that the U.S.-India relationship needs to improve, but we don't think that it needs to be improved at the cost of sacrificing efforts to hold back proliferation worldwide. So you know, at a minimum, the things that the Congress ought to be looking for and expecting in order to avoid the worst is making sure that the civil/military separation plan includes the broadest possible list of civilian facilities, that the safeguards are meaningful, they're permanent safeguards on all material and facilities, and that India makes some sort of commitment to cut off the production of fissile material that would be necessary to expand its arsenal.

    Thank you very much for being here. We have a number of materials on the table outside relating to some of the presentations, and there is more information on the Arms Control Association website . Thank you. (Applause.)

    (END)

    Country Resources:

    No Consensus on Nuclear Supply Rules

    Wade Boese

    Broad agreement exists among the world’s nuclear suppliers that additional measures are needed to guard against their nuclear exports being diverted illicitly to build nuclear weapons, but they failed to reach consensus on appropriate changes at two key recent meetings.

    Instead, at a July 6-8 summit, the Group of Eight (G-8) countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—extended for another year a one-year moratorium on any new exports of uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies, which can be used in producing both nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons. The leaders also pledged to continue work toward ways to guarantee that countries forgoing such capabilities have access to nuclear fuel and related services to operate their reactors.

    The G-8 meeting followed an annual conclave of the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The group, which met June 23-24 in Oslo, Norway, aims to coordinate nuclear export policies to prevent countries from exploiting peaceful nuclear cooperation as a pathway to nuclear weapons.

    The NSG once again rebuffed two U.S. proposals that President George W. Bush first laid out in February 2004 to further constrain the global nuclear trade. (See ACT, March 2004.) Because NSG meetings are supposed to be confidential, government sources from participating states spoke with Arms Control Today on the condition of anonymity.

    One Bush proposal calls on NSG members to prohibit the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to countries that do not already possess operating facilities for these activities.

    The other would tie a country’s eligibility to receive nuclear trade to having finalized an additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is charged with verifying that countries do not use their civilian nuclear programs to pursue nuclear arms covertly. The IAEA conducts this mission, in part, through mechanisms known as safeguards, such as remote monitoring and routine inspections of a country’s declared nuclear facilities. Current NSG policy authorizes nuclear trade only with states that have IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear materials and facilities. An additional protocol is an agreement by a government granting the IAEA greater investigative powers.

    Argentina, Brazil, France, and Russia maintained their opposition to the U.S. additional protocol position. Argentina and Brazil do not support establishing an additional protocol as a criterion for nuclear trade because neither country has concluded an additional protocol. Both, however, are reportedly moving closer to doing so.

    France and Russia objected to the proposal because of their interest in pursuing nuclear trade with India, which had refused to negotiate such an agreement. A month after the NSG meeting, however, India announced its intention to conclude an additional protocol to govern its civilian nuclear facilities as a step toward securing greater civilian nuclear cooperation with the United States (see "Between Noble Goals and Sobering Reality: An Interview with EU Nonproliferation Chief Annalisa Giannella").

    Bush’s proposal on uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing exports is essentially dead. An alternative series of multilateral approaches put forward this February by an IAEA experts group has also made little headway. (See ACT, March 2005.) Instead, NSG members focused on trying to establish common criteria for determining whether a country should be eligible to acquire such technologies.

    This proposal, initially conceived by Canada, would distinguish between objective criteria that suppliers should vet when weighing an export of enrichment or reprocessing technologies and subjective criteria that they might also choose to employ. Potential recipients would need to fulfill all the objective criteria, such as not being in violation of their IAEA safeguards, in order to be eligible for the proposed transfer. In contrast, failure to meet the subjective criteria, such as whether the importer’s nuclear program is economically sensible, would not obligate the exporter to forgo the possible transaction.

    Washington sought to ensure that it would be impossible for Iran to meet the objective criteria. It proposed that one objective criterion be that any country that had been denied dual-use exports by multiple NSG members be ineligible for enrichment or reprocessing imports. Prior to the Oslo meeting, a dozen different suppliers had issued 45 export denials on Iranian requests for dual-use goods, which are items that have both civilian and military uses.

    Moscow contended that the U.S.-proposed criterion should be classified as subjective rather than objective. The Kremlin maintained that a country should have a right to make its own trade decisions and not be prevented from doing so if other countries blocked particular exports.

    The meeting ended without agreement on specific criteria. Still, members vowed to continue work on this approach.

    The suppliers also endorsed other steps to guide their nuclear trade. They agreed that importers must have “effective export controls” to receive nuclear materials, equipment, and technology. Although the suppliers did not define what would constitute “effective,” it was understood that this standard included a recipient’s agreement not to retransfer imported items without the original exporter’s permission.

    Suppliers further supported the principle that exports designed specifically for nuclear use should be suspended for countries found in noncompliance with their IAEA safeguards. At Russia’s insistence, the suspension would not be automatic but would rest with each state or the UN Security Council.

    The NSG expanded to 45 countries with the July 15 addition of Croatia.

     

     

    U.S. Shifts Fuel Cycle Position?

    Miles A. Pomper

    Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman indicated in an April 5 speech that the United States may be adjusting its position on measures intended to limit the spread of materials and technologies that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

    Bodman’s remarks were given at a Virginia conference organized by Sandia National Laboratories. They came on the eve of a once-every-five-years nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in May, during which debate over such restrictions is expected.

    In his remarks, Bodman expressed a U.S. willingness to consider proposals different from that outlined by President George W. Bush in a February 2004 address.

    In that speech, Bush called on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to deny transfers of uranium-enrichment or plutonium reprocessing facilities to countries without functioning facilities for these activities. Such facilities can be used to produce fuel for civilian power reactors or key ingredients for nuclear weapons. The NSG is a 44-member group that seeks to coordinate nuclear trade policies.

    Bodman touted Bush’s approach as the “surest way to prevent proliferators from acquiring sensitive technologies,” but that proposal has run into resistance from other members. (See ACT, December 2004.) Bodman appeared to open the door to other approaches favored by European allies.

    “Any approach [on restrictions] must clearly and objectively separate states that honor nonproliferation agreements from countries like Iran whose proliferation intentions are clear,” Bodman said.

    “Most nations that operate nuclear energy and fuel cycle facilities comply with and support international nonproliferation agreements,” Bodman continued. “But some states, notably Iran and North Korea, have pursued nuclear fuel capabilities in secret…and in violation of their nonproliferation agreements. The plans these countries have announced for building one or two nuclear power plants certainly do not justify the high costs of developing enrichment or reprocessing programs.”

    The United Kingdom and France have called for the adoption of criteria that would require countries to prove they intend the technology for peaceful purposes, such as a clean bill of health from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and that acquiring such capabilities made economic sense. Those two governments and Germany are engaged in negotiations with Iran that seek to limit Tehran’s efforts to develop uranium-enrichment technologies.

    Bodman’s remarks came in the wake of some other nuclear fuel-cycle proposals, including a Feb. 22 report from an international experts group appointed by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei. ElBaradei’s group had outlined five different multilateral options that states might pursue to acquire nuclear fuel supplies and services short of constructing their own enrichment or reprocessing facilities. (See ACT, March 2005.)

    Bodman acknowledged that the question of assuring fuel supplies and services had to be addressed.

    “We should begin now to consider ways in which national governments and the commercial sector can provide assured fuel services for qualifying states,” Bodman said.

    He also called for industry officials to come together with governments to “develop a ‘code of conduct’ governing nuclear supply.” Industry officials at the conference said that they had not yet been consulted about the proposal.

    Nuclear Suppliers Pass on U.S. Proposals

    Wade Boese


    President George W. Bush’s proposals for tightening exports of nuclear materials and technologies failed to win support at a May 27-28 meeting of nuclear suppliers. But the group did adopt other nuclear export measures and accepted four new members, including China.

    In a Feb. 11 speech, Bush urged other nuclear suppliers not to ship enrichment and reprocessing equipment to countries that lack facilities for these purposes. Enrichment and reprocessing facilities can be used in making nuclear fuel or atomic arms.

    Bush also recommended that no nuclear exports go to governments not bound by an additional protocol, a safeguards measure that empowers the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out intrusive inspections to verify that a country is not developing nuclear weapons.

    The Bush administration wanted the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a voluntary export control regime, to adopt both proposals. But at their May meeting in Göteborg, Sweden, the 40 NSG members failed to reach the necessary consensus to act.

    Both Argentina and Brazil, which have yet to adopt additional protocols, voiced reservations about making a country’s willingness to submit to tougher IAEA inspections a prerequisite for receiving nuclear imports. Russia, which has a record of controversial nuclear dealings with India and Iran, argued for narrowing the condition to apply only to enrichment and reprocessing exports rather than to all nuclear trade.

    Bush’s other initiative met stiffer resistance. Several NSG members objected that barring future enrichment and reprocessing exports could lead other governments to complain that they are being denied their right under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes. With a treaty review conference scheduled for next May, some NSG members are reluctant to enact any measure that might be construed as widening the divide between nuclear “haves” and “have-nots.”

    Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton attempted to ease such worries, if unsuccessfully. “We can do this in a way that does not deprive NPT parties that are fully compliant with their obligations under the NPT of the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology,” Bolton said May 27.

    Finding greater favor, but still falling short of adoption, was a joint U.S.-French proposal calling on NSG members to suspend nuclear deals with countries that the IAEA Board of Governors charges with having failed to meet their NPT obligations. Although backing the general concept, some members argued it needed to be refined to make clear precisely what would trigger and end a trade suspension.

    NSG members did agree on some matters. They adopted a catchall provision to authorize governments to control exports suspected of being destined for a nuclear weapons program even if no law requires the item in question to be regulated, and pledged to share more information about worldwide nuclear procurement.

    The group also approved membership for China, Estonia, Lithuania, and Malta. The four countries became full members June 10 after exchanging letters with the NSG reaffirming their intent to follow regime rules.

    Nonetheless, China plans to proceed with supplying a nuclear reactor to Pakistan under a May 4 deal that is contrary to NSG principles. (See ACT, June 2004.) The regime allows governments to complete any transactions concluded before they become official NSG members.

    Washington did not take NSG inaction on its initiatives as the last word and succeeded in getting its fellow Group of Eight (G-8) members—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom—to adopt a one-year moratorium on new deals to export enrichment and reprocessing technologies (see page xx). All G-8 members also belong to the NSG. In addition, the United States set next year as a goal for getting the full NSG to adopt its initiatives.

     

     

     

     

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