Free Press Journal

US for intl convention to resolve nuclear liability issue


New Delhi: Seeking to fast-track Indo-US civil nuclear energy cooperation, Washington today suggested that the two countries opt for international convention to resolve impasse over liability in case of accidents, a stand that may not be in tune with New Delhi’s position.

The suggestion to settle the issues concerning liability emanating from any possible nuclear mishap within the framework of the International Liability Convention was made by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the US-India Energy Dialogue here.

“Discussion is tomorrow in Mumbai. We will hear about this then. We have been told by our colleagues in India that … we can find a way to it in (the framework of) International Liability Convention, which will come into force this year,” he said when asked about the reasons for delay in implementation of nuclear projects in India.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, which enables operator of nuclear power plants in India to seek partial compensation from suppliers in case of accidents, is hampering projects in the country.

Suppliers of nuclear equipment from the US, Canada and other countries see the Nuclear Damage Act as a hurdle in selling nuclear reactors to India.

The US position of resolving liability issue under the international convention, however, is at variance with India’s stand which was articulated by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Explaining India’s position, Ahluwalia said, “I am confident that the problem that have arisen can be resolved within the frame of civil nuclear agreement.

“We are hopeful that within the existing framework of the Civil Nuclear Liability Act it should be possible to resolve these problems, this will be good for not just US suppliers.. also good for French, Canadian, Russian and Indian suppliers.”