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‘Nuclear damage liability issue almost resolved’


The vexed issue of liability of foreign equipment suppliers under India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act 2010, which had made them hesitate in doing business with India, has almost been resolved, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

"The issue of liability for foreign suppliers of nuclear equipment is almost resolved," Sitharaman told reporters here.

Sitharaman was taking questions from mediapersons following a meeting here with Indian CEOs, who had briefed her on the eve of the second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue here on Tuesday, which she is to co-chair from the Indian side along with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

"Indian business leaders briefed me about the business-to-business meetings with their US counterparts. Various CEOs groups have been formed in different areas including on smart cities, manufacturing, energy as well as nuclear power generation," she added, noting that the issue of nuclear liability is relevant in this regard.

India’s first insurance policy covering public liability to an atomic power plant operator was issued to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) last month covering all Indian atomic power plants.

The policy would cover the liability towards public as a consequence of any nuclear accident in the plants covered under the policy and also the right of recourse of NPCIL against equipment suppliers.

The central government had announced in June 2015 the setting up of the Rs.1,500 crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool to be managed by national reinsurer GIC Re.

The GIC Re, four government-owned general insurers and also some private general insurers have provided the capacity to insure the risks of up to Rs.1,000 crore with the balance Rs.500 crore being obtained from the British Nuclear Insurance Pool.

Foreign nuclear plant suppliers were reluctant to sell to India, citing the provisions of the CLND Act that provides the right of recourse by NPCIL against the vendors for compensation in case of an accident.

In what is likely to be the last major engagement between India and the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will co-chair the second edition of the India-US dialogue here on Tuesday from the American side.