SETTING UP A NUCLEAR LIABILITY FUND
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.