Unless the provisions regarding a plant operators’ liabilities in case of nuclear damages are relaxed, foreign companies will not come in a big way, a senior Canadian government official has said.
“The way the liability has been framed in the Civil Nuclear Liability Act deviates from the global standards and it is our view if it is not modified, it is hard to see any foreign supplier coming in a big way to India,” Canadian consulate general Richard Bale told PTI on the sidelines of the nuclear summit here over the weekend.
As per the Act, an operator of a nuclear plant (so far only NPCIL) will be liable for damages worth up to Rs. 1,500 crore. However, there is a provision for the right of recourse for the operator. If written into the contract, the operator can claim the liabilities from the manufacturer and supplier.
Most of the suppliers, domestic as well as international, are concerned over whether they will have to bear over Rs. 1,500 crore towards in the event of nuclear disaster.
“It is the government’s prerogative to determine what the public policy should be. But on the one hand the government is saying it wants to expand the nuclear power programme, on the other they have put in place a framework that makes it difficult to achieve that goal,” Mr. Bale said.
The Canadian diplomat further said there is a need for more clarity on the policy front.
“The problem is that it is not clear where the line is. If you are a supplier of reactors, then it is a problem. At the same time, if you are a sub-contractor, even then there is a problem as there is no clarity on who should be held responsible. India needs to tweak the liability law,” he said.
New Delhi and Torronto had signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010 that allowed them to initiate negotiations for uranium supply.
“India has a clear commitment to expand its nuclear energy programme over a couple of years. But she does not have much uranium resources. Canada has high quality uranium. Besides, Canada also has its technology and small equipment to offer. This will be a win-win situation for both the countries,” Mr. Bale added.
Canadian atomic equipment companies along with 128-member Organisation of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI) were here to attend a nuclear summit organised by UBM India.