US defence lab explores nuke research tie-up with India

US lab representatives are exploring possibilities of long-term collaborative research in nuclear sciences and engineering, scientists from IIT Bombay told PTI, adding that they are on an information gathering mission on what Indian scientists and engineers are doing to arrive at a possible collaboration.

This is a preliminary meeting, they said. Representatives led by INL director John Grossenbacher interacted with scientists from all IITs and other Indian universities and Department of Atomic Energy's Homi Bhabha Nuclear Institute at IIT Bombay campus today.  He also delivered an institute colloquium, titled 'Structure of Nuclear Energy R&D in the USA'.

According to Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Grossenbacher and his team will tomorrow visit the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

Officials wondered how the INL delegation and other such delegations continue to visit BARC, when the DAE has not been removed from the US entity list (the export control list).

A true collaboration will only be realised with the removal of restrictions on dual-use technology including research tools, they said. "We hope that INL will be able to advise the US to remove the DAE from the entity list and allow dual use technology," an official said.

After Pokhran-I and II nuke tests India has been denied dual-use technology. On February 11, they will also meet the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission Srikumar Banerjee and Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation of India S K Jain at the DAE's headquarters in south Mumbai.

INL develops solutions for the US military in survivability, command and control, information systems, and by providing rapid prototyping of integrated engineering systems, besides nuclear technology.

INL had represented the US Department of Energy (DoE) during the negotiations of the 123-agreement on civil nuclear cooperation between India and the US. It also hosted the first India-US group meeting and arranged for US technical support of the working group's second meeting in January last year.

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