Japan eases fuel rules for India nuclear deal


Japan has given in to India’s demand that it be allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from Japanese-made reactors, negotiation sources said, marking a major shift in Japan’s stance against proliferation.

India, a nuclear power that conducted its first weapons test in 1974 using reprocessed plutonium, has not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Japan has been seeking measures to guarantee India will not divert extracted plutonium — which could be used to build nuclear weapons — for military use, but no agreement has been reached on the issue, the sources said Thursday.

This is the first time Tokyo has allowed a country using Japanese reactors to conduct fuel reprocessing. Since the Fukushima meltdowns in 2011, Japan has concluded nuclear equipment supply agreements with six countries, including Jordan, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam. But not one had been allowed to reprocess spent fuel generated by the reactors.

As a condition for allowing reprocessing, Japan has suggested throughout the bilateral negotiations, which began in 2010, that India submit an annual report detailing the amount of plutonium generated through reprocessing and where it is stored.

But India rejected the proposal, saying it already has a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency that subjects it to inspection by the nuclear watchdog, the sources said.

Some Japanese officials had been cautious about approving reprocessing, but Tokyo is now set to agree because its ally the United States has already done so, they said.

The U.S. recently reached a broad nuclear deal with India on condition that India submit certain information regarding extracted plutonium.

  • K.Periasamy

    Firstly, all know that the Pu obtained from the reprocessing of the power reactors are not suitable for making bombs.
    Secondly, India already has enough and more of Pu required fro any number of bombs. We need not take from any of the reactors being offered by Japan or for that matter any country.
    Thirdly, in today’s world, even if you have any number of bombs, it makes no difference since most other countries also have it !

    Still why should Japan worry about what we do with the Plutonium produced in those reactors and fuel which have been paid for ? Why India should worry about sharing that information ?
    Both are equally nonsense !

    In the interest of the world, hope that engineers are allowed to decide what to do and the politicians listen to them.