Nuclear liability: Small suppliers won’t have obligation, says AEC chief

Major suppliers such as companies building reactors will not be absolved if there is such an eventuality.

November 03, 2015 06:59 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:29 pm IST - New Delhi

Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu during the 7th Nuclear Energy conclave in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu during the 7th Nuclear Energy conclave in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In a major relief to component suppliers in the nuclear energy sector, the Centre on Tuesday said they will not have any “obligation” if there is any liability.

However, the major suppliers, for instance companies building the reactors, will not be absolved if there is such an eventuality.

India is also looking at approaching foreign market as the domestic banks are not equipped to give the massive amount of loan required to build an atomic reactor.

“Suppliers (who) are involved whether it is Indian or theirs (foreign)… then we will mention it in the contract that they will have no obligation (in case of any liability) as ultimately it is we who are designing, fabricating, constructing, commissioning,” Sekhar Basu, secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the 7th Nuclear Energy Conclave in New Delhi organised by the India Energy Forum.

“Indian reactors are designed, fabricated, quality assured, erection, commissioning under our supervision. So, there is no point in calling somebody else a supplier. Because whatever he has supplied and whatever he has made is as per our requirement. So we are responsible for that and this has to come in the document by which we will doing the purchase or get the item fabricated,” he said.

Mr. Basu, who is also the chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, however, added that companies building the reactor will not be absolved under this.

“On the foreign front, suppliers have to take the insurance of Rs. 1,500 crore. I am told for five years it is not much and it is around Rs. 50-70 crores. It’s a small fraction in comparison to the cost of the reactors and if you are taking multiple reactors, the cost remains the same,” he added.

The decision comes as a major relief to small suppliers, mostly Indian companies, which had been complaining about the stringent provisions of the Civil Liability Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act 2010, which held suppliers responsible in case of any accident.

This was also a major hurdle and concerns were raised by domestic suppliers.

Mr. Basu said the DAE is also looking for cheaper loan option outside.

“Loan component is a bigger problem because whatever amount we are looking for, particularly from the banks, they will not be able to provide us all this amount and Indian lenders will not be able to cover this. We are looking for big loan from the foreign markets. This is possible more for the foreign reactors. Russians are already giving us loan at the interest of 4 per cent and still cheaper loans are available in the market,” he said.

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