Sunday, November 22, 2009

Civil Nuke Liability Bill cleared for introduction

The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. The proposed law will enable India to join the international convention on civilian liability in case of nuclear damage. The Bill will be introduced in the current session of Parliament.

Although India has signed bilateral nuclear power agreements with countries like the United States, France, Russia and Kazakhstan, foreign companies would not be able to enter the Indian market in the absence of the liability law.

The Bill proposes to cap the level of compensation at $450 million in the event of an accident at a nuclear facility. The responsibility for paying this compensation will rest on the operator and not the supplier or foreign companies building and installing reactors in India. The Bill will also allow monitoring by authorities for avoiding nuclear disasters.

Multinational companies who are into nuclear power would never think of doing business without a legislation that limits the compensation and liability to the operator after the claims made in the Three Mile Island accident of 1979.

The Three Mile Island plant operator and its insurers paid at least $82 million in publicly documented compensation to residents for loss of business revenue, evacuation expenses and health claims.

Also, there were hundreds of out-of-court settlements that were subsequently reached with alleged victims of the fallout, with a total of $15 million paid out to parents of children born with birth defects.

Source - Economic Times

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