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05NEWDELHI1263 2005-02-17 12:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy New Delhi
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 001263 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2015



Classified By: DCM ROBERT BLAKE, REASON 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) Summary: In this February 11 meeting, NRC
Commissioner Merrifield complimented Jaishankar about the
accomplishments and maturity of the Indian nuclear power
industry. "With regard to nuclear power," Merrifield said,
"India can no longer be treated as a junior partner."
Merrifield also highlighted the importance NRC assigns to
activities of the World Association of Nuclear Operators
(WANO). Jaishankar asked for forward thinkers in the U.S. to
address the baggage and cobwebs that continue to burden the
U.S.-Indian nuclear relationship and find common interests to
bring back a natural relationship on nuclear issues. End



Accomplishments and Maturity of the Indian Nuclear Power



2. (C) Commissioner Merrifield expressed satisfaction about
the progress of the nuclear safety cooperation program with
India and told Jaishankar that NRC would welcome AERB members
to come to work "shoulder to shoulder" with NRC personnel on
nuclear power regulatory matters and that NRC would make
efforts to place AERB technical personnel in U.S.
institutions. He expressed admiration for the facilities in
Hall 7 at BARC as well as the maturity and accomplishments of
the Indian nuclear power program. (Comment: Hall 7 is a
high-bay facility that can accommodate large experimental
set-ups which are as tall as a multi-story building and
require substantial amounts of electrical power and water
cooling to simulate the conditions that nuclear fuel rods
encounter during operation in a Pressurized Heavy Water
nuclear reactor. End comment.)

3. (C) Merrifield highlighted that Indian participation in
WANO has given the worldwide nuclear industry an opportunity
to understand the strengths of India's nuclear power program.

4. (C) With regard to nuclear power, Merrifield said, India
can no longer be treated as a junior partner. As a regulator
who has seen over 200 nuclear power plants, he knows about
the comparative strengths of worldwide nuclear power
programs. Upon returning to the U.S., Merrifield said he
could articulate what he has seen in India.

5. (C) Merrifield told Jaishankar that he intends to go back
to promote the usefulness in making progress with NSSP.
Merrifield said that NRC considers collaborations in
benchmarking of safety codes important and that the ability
to move in this area is somewhat wrapped up with dialogue and
progress on export control. Merrifield said that by
returning to the U.S. better informed, he will be able to
promote progress in NSSP so that U.S.-India collaborations in
nuclear safety can move forward.

6. (C) The Commissioner told Jaishankar that given NRC views
on the value of WANO, NRC will encourage WANO to issue timely
invitations and that NRC will endeavor to assist Indian
visitors seeking to obtain visas to attend WANO events in the
United States. Through his interactions in India,
Commissioner Merrifield said that he understands the visa
issue much better and it is easier for NRC to facilitate the
process when it has timely information it can act upon.


A More Nuanced Approach to NSSP Would Be Helpful



7. (C) Jaishankar, expressing gratitude for NRC's attitude,
said that while Commissioner Merrifield realizes the
centrality of NSSP, the U.S. requires some forward thinkers
to address the baggage and cobwebs that continue to burden
the U.S.-India nuclear relationship. It is reasonable to
expect, that given the current price of hydrocarbons, heavy
investments in nuclear power in India are likely to continue.
In addition, investments in nuclear power in the United
States could once again grow. The U.S. and India, thus, have
common interests and some decisions to make on how to bring
back to life a natural relationship. It is India's hope that
the U.S. and India will be able to look at the nuclear
relationship in a broader context.

8. (C) India is very cognizant of shared concerns of
proliferation. In implementing export controls, India is not
doing this for the U.S., as exports of sensitive materials
and technologies are just as detrimental to India's interests
as they are detrimental to U.S. interests.

9. (C) The U.S. and India need to take steps that
demonstrate a shared purpose and India requests that the U.S.
take a more nuanced approach. The Indians resent that the
U.S. continues to express proliferation concerns with India,
which has an "impeccable record," and that the U.S. continues
to put India in the same light as countries whose records are
poorer. In particular, grouping India with serial
proliferators is incorrect and greatly unfair, Jaishankar

10. (C) Jaishankar indicated that improving the relationship
takes parallel efforts in India as well as in the U.S.
However, progress in NSSP requires support within the Indian
nuclear establishment. Jaishankar remarked that in 1982 the
challenges posed by supplies of fuel for the Tarapur nuclear
power station seemed intractable. The lesson learned at that
time was that when there is a desire to find a creative
solution, a solution can indeed be found.

11. (C) In the context of the broader dialogue of the
U.S.-India relationship, progress in NSSP requires that the
constituencies in the technical community remain supportive.
In this regard, India's space program has found much benefit
from the NSSP. The Indian nuclear technical establishment is
far more skeptical. For NSSP to succeed, it must be
implemented in letter as well as in spirit. A generous
approach is important and the human element is important.
Barriers vitiate the atmosphere in which NSSP could blossom.
When Indian scientists who want to attend international
conferences are denied visas, implementation of NSSP suffers.


Getting on With the NSSP


12. (C) Merrifield told Jaishankar that, in his view, there
are two kinds of attorneys. One kind of attorney reads a
contract line-by-line and word-by-word. Another kind tries
to look at an agreement beyond the individual words and
individual lines to develop a vision of the total
significance of an agreement. Merrifield said that he, just
as Jaishankar, wants dialogue and progress and wants to get
beyond the baggage so the relationship can move forward.

13. (C) Merrifield told Jaishankar that with regard to NSSP,
NRC's inputs are only in those matters that deal with nuclear
safety. Through his interactions in India, Commissioner
Merrifield said that he understands the visa issue much
better and it is easier for NRC to facilitate the process
when it has timely information it can act upon.


Meeting Participants


14. (C) NRC Commissioner Jeffrey S. Merrifield
NRC Deputy Director Margaret Doane
DCM Robert Blake
SciCouns Marco Di Capua
Dr. S. Jaishankar, Joint, US and Canada, MEA
Santosh Jha, Deputy Secretary, US and Canada, MEA

K. Raghuraman, Head, International Studies, Department of
Atomic Energy

15. (C) NRC Commissioner Merrifield cleared this cable.

16. (C) NRC Commissioner Merrifield also met Foreign
Secretary Shyam Saran (Ref. A) and MEA Additional Secretary

Meera Shankar (septel).