Congress Approves Nuclear Cooperation Agreement With India

Congress passed legislation to allow the U.S. to share civilian nuclear technology with India, rejecting arguments by arms control advocates that it undermines global efforts to curb the spread of atomic weapons.

The House and Senate voted separately to allow U.S. companies to sell equipment for India’s civil atomic power program. In exchange, the South Asian country is to open some of its plants to international inspections to prove that the fuel won’t be diverted for weapons.

The legislation reverses U.S. policy, which has barred nuclear exports to India ever since that country tested an atomic bomb in 1974 without signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Opponents argued that the agreement increases the likelihood that nuclear weapons will wind up in the hands of terrorists.

“If or when a mushroom cloud ever erupts over an American city, it will be traced to this unwise vote,” Democratic Representative David Wu of Oregon said.

Supporters say the plan firms up strategic ties with a growing Asian power. Indian energy demand is rising as growth climbs at the second-fastest rate among major economies.

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