Image via WikipediaWASHINGTON — The United States and India signed an agreement Friday enabling the Asian power to reprocess American nuclear material, a key requirement under their landmark atomic energy pact.
So far, Washington has reprocessing deals only with European Union members and Japan.
The arrangement with India reflects President Barack Obama's "strong commitment to building successfully on the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative and is a prerequisite for US nuclear fuel suppliers to conduct business with India," a statement from the State Department said.
The reprocessing agreement was signed in Washington by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns and Indian envoy to the US Meera Shankar.
The United States and India signed their nuclear agreement in 2008, part of the deepening relationship between the world's two largest democracies.
India is to reprocess the US spent nuclear fuel at a new facility to be established under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, the statement said. Arrangements under the pact signed Friday "will facilitate participation by US firms in India's expanding civil nuclear energy sector," it said.
The civil nuclear agreement has opened significant new commercial opportunities for the United States across India's multi-billion-dollar nuclear energy market.