SET­TING UP A NU­CLEAR LI­A­BIL­ITY FUND

Economic Challenger - - NEWS - - Editor

The Govern­ment of In­dia has cleared the decks for set­ting up a Nu­clear Li­a­bil­ity Fund with a cor­pus of Rs. 2,000 crore which will be uti­lized by the Govern­ment in pay­ing dam­ages re­sult­ing from any un­to­ward nu­clear ac­ci­dent in the coun­try ex­ceed­ing the limit al­ready spec­i­fied for nu­clear plant oper­a­tors. The op­er­at­ing li­a­bil­ity is capped at Rs. 1500 crore un­der the 2010 Civil Li­a­bil­ity for Nu­clear Dam­ages Act. The Depart­ment of Atomic En­ergy has al­ready no­ti­fied the Nu­clear Li­a­bil­ity Fund Rules, 2015 on De­cem­ber 8 last year. How­ever, a date for the levy to com­mence is yet to be no­ti­fied. The NLF will com­prise the levy col­lected from oper­a­tors of nu­clear in­stal­la­tions. The oper­a­tors will have to pay to the fund a levy be­tween 5 to 10 paise for ev­ery unit of elec­tric­ity sold to the cus­tomers. The levy shall be col­lected and paid to the fund till the to­tal amount reaches Rs. 2000 crore. The process of col­lec­tion will be re­sumed in the event of any with­drawals from the fund in case of pay­ment of li­a­bil­ity on ac­count of nu­clear ac­ci­dents.

The pay­ments made by an op­er­a­tor to­wards the fund will be cred­ited to the con­sol­i­dated Fund of In­dia and then trans­ferred to the Pub­lic Ac­counts un­der the MH 3235 Gen­eral and Other Re­serve

Fund. Be­fore mak­ing any pay­ments out of fund, the Govern­ment will be re­quired to seek Par­lia­ment's ap­proval. Due as­sess­ment will be done be­fore mak­ing any pay­ments un­der the nu­clear li­a­bil­ity. The set­ting up of a Nu­clear Li­a­bil­ity Fund is in pur­suance with the mu­tual un­der­stand­ing be­tween In­dia and the United States on is­sues re­lat­ing to civil nu­clear li­a­bil­ity in Jan­uary 2015 for im­ple­ment­ing the 123 Agree­ment en­tered into be­tween the US and In­dia in Septem­ber 2008 for set­ting up nu­clear re­ac­tors for com­mer­cial use with in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion in In­dia. Cre­ation of Nu­clear Li­a­bil­ity fund will be the big­gest ad­di­tion to the pool of com­pen­sa­tion that will be avail­able for nu­clear dam­ages in case of any ac­ci­dents. Through this the Govern­ment of In­dia has given a clear messge to the Amer­i­can in­vestors that In­dia is sin­cere to stick to its words to pro­tect their in­ter­est in In­dia. it is def­i­nitely go­ing to at­tract more for­eign in­vest­mant into the coun­try for set­ting up more and more power re­ac­tors.

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