India votes for a new nuclear waste treaty

R Senthilnathan

Vienna 8 September

India has accepted a new international convention which requires countries with nuclear facilities to comply with high radioactive waste management standards.

Pakistan voted against the convention, titled Joint Convention on Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. New Zealand joined Pakistan in opposing the convention. Russia and China abstained from the weekend voting. When the treaty was put to vote in Vienna after a five-day high-level diplomatic conference, India, along with 61 other nations, voted for it. At the conference hosted by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), China has lobbied hard to curtail Taiwan's rights to export radioactive waste to North Korea.

The convention will open for signature by countries at the annual general conference of the IAEA later this month. The treaty will come into force after ratification by 25 states, 15 of them with nuclear facilities. Indian officials said they were happy with the outcome, through their proposals could not be accepted.