Clarification needed on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act: CII

United News of India

New Delhi, January 15, 2012

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today welcomed the notification of implementation rules for the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2011 as a landmark legislation for India, but said there was need for clarification of key provisions.
According to CII, this important notification reiterates the Indian government's commitment towards developing nuclear power in India, setting the stage for development of nuclear power facilities.
For the first time in the country, a contemporary liability framework for nuclear damages has been put in place by instituting a "strict" liability for the operator who has to cough up damages of up to a maximum of Rs 1,500 crore, CII said in a release here.
However, while this is clearly a significant move forward, since both the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 and the Public Insurance Act,1991 are silent on the issue of nuclear damages, CII feels that greater clarity is required in some clauses of the Act to make it more effective.
For instance, Section 46 states that nothing in the civil liability law will prevent the operation of other laws in force in the country and makes clear that criminal liability in case of an accident remains, as indeed do tort claims.
However, clarification is required to ensure that this provision does not alter the exclusive channeling of any claims for nuclear damage on a strict liability basis only to the operator, who owns the plant, the Confederation said.
Several other issues need to be addressed, CII said. Specific customised insurance solutions for suppliers need to be developed.
Currently in India insurance providers do not offer any policy under which suppliers to nuclear power plant can cover their risk.
A balanced legislation will send out the right signals to investors and suppliers and will expedite the progress of the country’s Nuclear Power Programme, the CII added.