INDIA-US NUCLEAR RELATIONS: DISSIPATING GOOD WILL (DELETED)

Created: 6/2/1983

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE

23

INDIA-US NUCLEAR RELATIONS: DISSIPATING GOOD WILL

Summary

Smator Indian oftlcla concernedat

tha General Slectrlc built Tarapur raaetora, arm urgingGandhi toajor lesue of the OS failure toparte whan Secretary Shultx visits later thl$ month. of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission told US"v hat one of the two reaetora at the power stationehut down because it could no longer be operated safelywould become * major public controversy. mW

Although the Chairman has publicly denied the existence ofhazards, the Indian press has reported radiation releasee and overexposure ot plant personnel at the Tarapur reactors. OS technical experts believe that the Tarapur reactors can ao longer

be operated safely without the VS spare parts and that the potential txists for an accidenthento the crowded Bombay area* In our view such an event would provokesentiment in the Indian public and discredit nuclear officials who havea conciliatory approach to the United States*

The Scare Parts Issue

to be unloaded

We do not believe that ell to make repairs that Hew Delhi has threatened to bargaining chip In parts request.

Cuel in the reactors would have

we

reprocess Tarapur fuel as a

o its spare there will be

with the Reactors

Assessments of US technical experts who have studiedspare parts request- information supplied bv thethe reactors, Indian press

assert thajthe Tarapur reactors can nooperated safely without the US spare parts and thatexists for an accident involving the releaseInto the environment. Recent Indian pressthat Tarapur workers have already been exposed toexcess of internationally acceptedbeen vented into the

last /oar that Indian officials had rlote^^fgi^radi^tT^ levels at the plant because defective fuel elements had been used to maintain power generation since the US cut off nuclear sales

Onay the Indian press reported that one of the reactors was shut down for routine maintenance and replacementump seal. Indian Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Homi Sethna told US officials at that timeump in the cooling system had failed and that the reactor could no longer he operated safely without US spare parts. Although press commentary on the problems at Tarapur has so far been muted, Sethna has warned that

tht US failure to supply spare partsesultant reactor Shutdown wouldajor public Issue.

India made Us first formal request to the United States for spare parti in2 and submitted its first detailed list of needs in July. The United States hai told the Indians that any export of parts must comply with the Nuclearrollferation Act, or the law must be amended, and that it would be helpful if Congress could be assured that India had no current plans to reprocess Tarapir fuel, which the Indians confirmed to US representatives inl

Indian Objectives

We believe that Indian objectives on the Tarapur Issue are

to:

Avoid prolonged shutdown of the Tarapur reactnr1 Because the Indian civil nuclear program has come

Sec^rt 5h#s. In our view, India genuinely needs the parts from the United States. We believe that Indian Industry lacks the experience or proprietaryto make the parts quickly enough toong shutdown of Tarapur. According to US and foreign reactor vendors, moreover, only the United States can supply the parta for the American-made reactors. He believe that Indian nuclear officials would also like to avoid the high costs of self-sufficiency for the remainingears of the projected useful life of the reactors.

Avoid broader confrontation on nuclear Issues with the catea.In our judgment, New Delhi wants to

etain U

good will so that Washington will take Indian concerns Into account in its relations with Pakistan, particularly In restraining Pakis tan's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons* We believe that Prime Minister Gandhi wishes to sustain the improvement in relations that resulted from her visit to Washington and toalance In Indian relations with both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Avoid any commltnenta that would extend orhe US role In the Indian nuclear program^, We bel ieve that the Indian nuclear establishment continues to use the specter i ependence to justify its costlyutarchic civil power program. According to press reports, opposition parties criticized last fall's agreement

between India and the United States for refueling the Tarapur reactor because it failed to terminate all US

co*rM- esponse, Gandhi has told the Indian parliament that all safeguards on the Tarapur reactor and its spent fuel will end when th agreement with the United States expires

Tarapur and India's Nuclear Pollev

In our view, anemonstration that the enhance the chances that Bhaba Atomic Research Ce chairman of theetirement age this fall continue in office, workinguclear policy adviser,orkable civil

ended shutdown of the Tarapur reactor or plant has major safety problems would Raja Ramanna, currently Director of the nter, would succeed Homl Sethna as nergy Commission. Sethna will reachreceive formal oermlitlon to

^Ramanna is

replace Sethna as the country's senior Ramanna argues that Sethn-^his^faHednuclear power program. ^LIIIIilHLIVLIBk Ramanna favors overall closer nuclear or', including acceptanceoviet ith large power reactors. Inhe Soviet offer would enable n expanding Its nuclear

Indian nuclear establishment Is likelv

pren3 Gandhi toirm commitment from Secretary Shultx

spare parts Issue. We believe that New Delhi will In the discussions if revelations of

fully the crowded

program

safety hazards at the Tarapur reactors continue in the Indian press. The Indians may even threaten to reprocess Tarapur spent fuel In order to pressure the United States to reverse what they regard as Inexcusable delay and bad faith in its failure to deliver the spare parts. In our view,inor but documented release of radioactivity from Tarapur intonvwm Bombay area would provoke an outburst of antl-Anerlcan sentiment by the Indian public that would threaten to discredit nuclear officials such as Sethna who haveesolution ofissues with the United States. Under these circumstances, we believe thatd others whoess cooperative posture toward US nuclearrests could take control of the nuclear

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