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Russia To Sell Reactor to India

June 15, 1998

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Russia’s planned sale of an atomic reactor to India will continue despite the five nuclear tests New Delhi conducted last month, an Indian official said Sunday.

Russia renewed an agreement last year to sell India two 1,000-megawatt reactors for $1 billion each. The agreement was first signed in 1988 but Russia postponed it following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

``A Russian scientific team led by Energy Minister Yevegeny Adamov will shortly visit India to finalize the deal,″ Rajagopalan Chidambaram, chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

The plants will be located in Kudankulam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and will be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, he said.

Russia will supply enriched fuel for the lifetime of the proposed lightwater reactor, the news agency quoted Chidambaram as saying.

Last year, Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel told Congress that Russian exports of nuclear power reactors or missile-related equipment and technology to India would be of concern. But Moscow told New Delhi their bilateral cooperation was not open to comment by a third country.

India’s 10 nuclear power plants produce 1,700 megawatts of power, Chidambaram said. The Indian government has said it wants to increase its nuclear power capability tenfold in the next 25 years because of an acute power shortage that hampers its economic development.

India exploded five underground nuclear devices last month, prompting neighboring Pakistan to retaliate with six nuclear tests a few weeks later.

The tests were widely condemned by nuclear powers and industrialized nations but hailed by many poor countries. The United States, Japan, Germany and several others imposed economic and political sanctions on India and Pakistan.

On Friday, the world’s eight leading industrial powers agreed to postpone all development loans to both nations.

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