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Friday 18 November 2011

*Statement on Circumvention of Supplier’s Liability under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010*

*November 18, 2011*

* *

*Statement on Circumvention of Supplier’s Liability under the Civil
Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010*

The Government of India has come up with the rules for implementation of
the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010. In formulating the rules,
the government has undermined the spirit of the Act, diluting the already
limited ‘right of recourse’ of the operator against the nuclear suppliers.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act passed in the Parliament in
2010, under its Section 17, provides for ‘right of recourse’ whereby the
operator can demand liability from the supplier.

Now promulgated rules go to seriously undermine this provision and specify
that the 'right of recourse' “shall be for the duration of initial licence
issued under the Atomic Energy (Radiation protection) Rules of 2004, or the
product liability period, whichever is longer.” Thereby it negates the
implicit original provision that the 'right to recourse' will be available
to the operator vis-a-vis the supplier during the whole lifetime of the
equipment and limits it to only a fraction of it - it could be as short as
5 years whereas the life of a nuclear reactor is expected to be 30-40
years. Moreover, the cap on the operator's liability and consequently the
supplier's liability is fixed at a paltry Rs 1,500 crore, which is a small
fraction of the cost of a large reactor, and an even smaller proportion of
the likely damage from a nuclear accident.

Foreign nuclear suppliers, mainly the US but also Russia and France, have
been pressurising the Indian government to exempt them from any such
liability. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself had recently
called for amending the Liability Act and ensuring that it complies with
the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. Indian
corporate lobby too has been prodding the government to dilute the
supplier's liability provision.

We find this latest development entirely unacceptable. It does seriously
tamper with the Liability Act as passed by the Indian parliament by means
of underhand subterfuge. The Government of India, as it appears, bowing to
the dictates of foreign and domestic corporate lobbies, has grievously
undermined the Liability Act.

The CNDP demands that the rules are immediately put in tandem with the
original Act so that the 'right to recourse' is available to the operator
vis-a-vis the supplier for any equipment/material during its entire

* *

*For CNDP*

Achin Vanaik

Admiral (Rtd.) L Ramdas

Sukla Sen

Amarjeet Kaur

N D Jayaprakash

Anil Chaudhary


Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)

A 124/6 Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi-16

Telefax: 011-26517814

Web :

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