In a retort to the Prime Minister seeking the Law Ministrys opinion on waiving the Russiansalt39 liability for any accident in unit 3 and 4 to be installed at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, environmenta
l organisation Greenpeace on Saturday said the suppliersalt39 liability is already answered in the Nuclear Liability Act.
If he were really concerned about foreign nuclear suppliers trying to escape liability in case of an accident, he should better review the Rules notified by the Department of Atomic Energy ( DAE) on November 11 in utter violation of the 2010 Act, the NGO demanded.
In a statement, Karuna Raina, campaigner with Greenpeace said, ” The foreign suppliers and the powerful foreign lobby – whether theyalt39re the Russian, French or American, have been pushing the Indian Government to dilute the Nuclear Liability Act to let them off the hook in case of any accident.” Reacting to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India ( NPCIL) wanting the DAE to extend the liability exemption given to the Russians in an agreement in 2008 for the first two reactors at Kudankulam, Raina said, ” It only shows that DAE and NPCIL are not capable of safeguarding the interest of the Indian people.
In light of Fukushima, it is unimaginable that the Prime Minister would allow this illegality to take place.” Though the Prime Minister expressed his own reservation by referring the exemption issue to the Law Ministry, Raina said, ” We urge the Prime Minister to do what is right by citizens of India and not for the vested foreign interest. One in twenty Indians today live in the shadow of a nuclear plant. We cannot allow their safety and their right to justice to be snatched away by the real foreign hand.” He pointed out an urgent need to recast the rules on the suppliers liability in the light of an opinion secured by Greenpeace from former Attorney General and Constitutional expert Soli Sorabjee that they were ultra vires of the Act.
Sorabjee had opined that it is not strictly necessary that the rules should specify that any contract between the operator ( NPCIL) and the supplier would be subject to the Nuclear Liability Act, but ” it would be desirable if the same is done by way of abundant caution.’