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United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


UNITED STATES AND INDIA NUCLEAR COOPERATION PROMOTION ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - July 26, 2006)

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Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, India is a democracy that understands the role of this Congress. They have negotiated a deal that dramatically loosens the controls on their nuclear weapons program, and they know that it is the role of this Congress to make that deal one step tighter.

Our job is to protect the nonproliferation interests of the United States. The job of India is to say that any amendment we offer is a ``killer amendment.'' Do not be fooled. They know and they expect that this Congress will do its job and make this deal one step better when it comes to controlling nuclear weapons.

India did not sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. We should not punish India for becoming a nuclear power, but this deal in its present form facilitates building additional nuclear weapons by India. It will allow them to build twice as many nuclear weapons per year as they are doing now.

That is why I will be offering an amendment that will help India's civilian nuclear program, without helping their military program.

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Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, India is a democracy and it knows that this Congress has a role to play. They negotiated a deal which is better than the deal they need. That deal which they negotiated with our State Department is very loose on the issue of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. India knows, or at least expects, that this Congress will do its job and make the agreement better, tighten the agreement so that it does not help India to build additional nuclear weapons.

The question is whether this Congress will do its job or surprise the Indians and simply be a rubber stamp for the agreement that has already been negotiated. I hope we do our job, and here is why.

India did not sign the Nonproliferation Treaty. They are not in violation of it. They exploded nuclear weapons. I do not believe that we should punish India for its decision to become a nuclear power, but we should not facilitate India in building additional nuclear weapons.

India's problem is this: They can only produce a limited amount of uranium from domestic sources, basically 300 tons. What they get out of this deal is nuclear fuel and uranium.

How does India use its 300 tons, which it produces domestically? They use half of it for their civilian reactors already existing. They certainly lose money if they fail to run those reactors as scheduled at full capacity. But they are doing just that. They are running their existing civilian reactors at less than capacity because they only use 150 tons of uranium for that purpose. The other 150 tons goes to India's nuclear weapons program.

What will this bill do if we fail to amend it? It will allow India to buy uranium for all of its civilian needs from other countries. The result will be that India will be able to use all 300 tons of its domestic production for the construction of nuclear weapons.

That is not what we mean to do. We mean to help India develop its civilian program. But since uranium is fungible, we also do not mean that our help to India in giving it fuel for its civilian program is not supposed to, so we are told, help India double its production of nuclear weapons. That is why this bill needs an amendment.

What my amendment would do is simply require that, for the deal to go forward, India keeps doing what it has been doing, using 150 tons of its uranium for its existing civilian plants instead of diverting that 150 tons toward its military production. That is to say, we would make sure that this deal did not hamper, but did not help, India's nuclear weapons program.

I hope the amendment will enjoy support.

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Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Chairman, let me respond to the arguments. They say that India claims this is a killer amendment. This a negotiating tactic. Any amendment I don't like is a killer amendment. I use the negotiating tactic myself.

We are told this imposes a requirement on India that we do not impose on the other nuclear powers. All the other nuclear powers sign the nonproliferation treaty. India deliberately puts itself in a class by itself.

We are told that this bill, this amendment is designed to be a killer amendment. I don't think the gentleman meant that as an attack on my belief and integrity. I voted for the bill. I do not intend to kill the bill.

The Democratic leader was on this floor endorsing another amendment that India says is a killer amendment. I do not think she intends to kill the bill. She said she was going to vote for it. Those of us who want to improve the bill want to improve it. And if we are nothing more than a rubber stamp for a deal which by its terms will allow India to double its nuclear weapons production, all in the name of generating electricity, then we are not doing our job. Please vote for the amendment.

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