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Public Statements

Tribute to Senators

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

TRIBUTE TO SENATORS -- (Senate - October 01, 2008)


Mr. DOMENICI. Mr. President, India has over 1 billion people and a rapidly growing economy. They recognize the need to provide electricity that does not increase air pollution or greenhouse gases.

With this agreement we can help export U.S. technology and safeguards to monitor and support India's inevitable nuclear expansion or ignore India's growth as a nuclear power as we have for the past 30 years.

This agreement is good for the U.S. economy, good for international nuclear safeguards, and good for the environment.

As a rapidly growing economy, India will see an increased need for electricity over the coming decades. As India--and the world--seeks to find ways to increase generation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power will continue to grow. The civilian nuclear agreement with India will allow us to help export U.S. technology to monitor this expansion and will facilitate a global approach to the challenges of climate change.

India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet they have agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This will improve our ability to monitor and protect against proliferation of nuclear material.

India's growing civilian nuclear program will now be subject to international inspections.

India would like to cooperate with the United States in developing safer nuclear technology consistent with the administration's goals.

From a practical standpoint, this agreement will increase inspections, verify compliance, and encourage cooperation on new technology.

I would also point out that this agreement has the support of the world's leading nonproliferation watchdog, Mohammed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said, ``this agreement is an important step towards satisfying India's growing need for energy. It would also bring India closer as an important partner in the nonproliferation regime.'' He went on to say, ``It would be a step forward toward universalization of the international safeguards regime.''

I am of the belief that we need to advance the goals of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty by opening up cooperation and transparency in India. Under this agreement, the United States and India will expand the use of safeguards on critical nuclear technology and processes in that country--something that is beyond our reach today.

India has developed its nuclear program for the past three decades and has not exported material or technology. However, there are strong and powerful political forces within India that would like to disclose less and make fewer sites subject to civilian inspection. This agreement subjects most of India's reactors to civilian inspection, including all of the breeder reactors. I believe if we reject this package, it will be years before we are able to negotiate another deal, and it is unlikely to provide as much openness and transparency as we have today.

With regard to the amendment offered by Senators Dorgan and Bingaman--two Members for whom I have enormous respect--I believe this amendment is duplicative and would only serve to delay, if not derail, this important agreement.

This administration has been very clear that India would face severe consequences if they tested another nuclear device. Also, this language duplicates the export controls and reporting requirements of Sections 103, 104 and 105 of the Hyde Act.

I do not believe this amendment will provide any additional protection or controls that are not already in place today, so I must recommend my colleagues oppose this amendment and adopt the India civilian nuclear agreement without changes.

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