Nu­clear shield for MNCs

The new Indo-US agree­ment protects Amer­i­can com­pa­nies from be­ing held li­able for nu­clear ac­ci­dents


Tnu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion HE CIVIL agree­ment be­tween In­dia and the US,an­nounced on Jan­uary 25,was hailed as the high­light of the US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s re­cently con­cluded visit. Although for­mer prime min­is­ter of In­dia Man­mo­han Singh and then US pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush had signed a land­mark civil­ian nu­clear deal in 2008,the two coun­tries could not do busi­ness be­cause the US did not agree to sub­ject its com­pa­nies to In­dia’s li­a­bil­ity laws in case of an ac­ci­dent. It also in­sisted on keep­ing a tab on nu­clear ma­te­ri­als sup­plied. The new agree­ment has taken care of US con­cerns but com­pro­mised those of In­dia.

Af­ter the 2008 deal, In­dia passed the Civil Li­a­bil­ity for Nu­clear Dam­age Act (clnda), 2010, which held sup­pli­ers li­able for com­pen­sa­tion in case of any ac­ci­dent caused by faulty equip­ment and gave the op­er­a­tor (the gov­ern­ment) the right to sue them. This is the law which nu­clear fuel sup­pli­ers,es­pe­cially from the US and France, have been fiercely op­posed to.

To come out of the log­jam,In­dia has now of­fered to set up In­dian Nu­clear In­sur­ance Pool of 1,500 crore. This would in­dem­nify

` sup­pli­ers and en­sure that Amer­i­can com­pa­nies en­ter the mar­ket with­out be­ing held li­able for com­pen­sa­tion.The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia and na­tional in­sur­ance com­pa­nies will con­trib­ute 750 crore each to the pool.

` Gen­eral In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia (gic), a 100 per cent gov­ern­ment-owned com­pany,has been made the ad­min­is­tra­tor of the pool. It is try­ing to ap­proach pri­vate bankers to gar­ner the money. It is also plan­ning to is­sue in­sur­ance-linked bonds to tap new fund­ing sources. When con­tacted,


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