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India ratifies pact on nuclear compensation

NEW DELHI: Five years after signing the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), India ratified the convention on Thursday, the IAEA’s Office of Public Information and Communication reported from Vienna.

India’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA, Rajiva Misra, delivered the instrument of ratification to Juan Carlos Lentijo, the acting Director General of the IAEA and other officials.

Mr.Misra is reported as saying, “We were eager to complete the process at the earliest, and today, with India joining the CSC, we are contributing to strengthening an international convention and global nuclear liability regime”.

The CSC is a convention that allows for increasing the compensation amount in the event of a nuclear incident through public funds pooled in by contracting parties based on their own installed nuclear capacities. It entered into force on April 15, 2015.

India had also passed its own domestic nuclear liability law, the Civil Law for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act in 2010. Countries such as the U.S. have said that the Indian law’s provisions are violative of the CSC, but this has been denied by India.

India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative in Vienna, Austria, Rajiva Misra, on Thursday handed over the Instrument of Ratification to Acting Director General of nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Juan Carlos Lentijo, official sources said. The Convention will come into force in India on May 4 this year, 90 days from the date of deposit of the ratification instrument.
Clauses under the Civil Liability Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act were major impediments in the progress of building reactors with US in India.
Following the discussions in the Contact Group between US and India last year, the idea of the India Nuclear Insurance Pool as a part of the overall risk management scheme for liability was also presented to Washington. Based on the presentations by the Indian side, and the discussion thereon, there is a general understanding that India’s CLND law is compatible with the Convention of Supplementary Compensation (CSC). The Nuclear Insurance Pool was formed in June 2015.
Incidentally, of the three countries (US, France and Russia) with which India is collaborating for building reactors, it was the US that had pressed for ratifying the CSC.
The objective of the CSC is to establish a worldwide liability regime and to increase the amount of compensation available to the victims of nuclear accidents.

Liability for Nuclear Damage(Updated June 2015)

Operators of nuclear power plants are liable for any damage caused by them, regardless of fault. They therefore normally take out insurance for third-party liability, and in most countries they are required to do so.
The potential cross boundary consequences of a nuclear accident require an international nuclear liability regime, so national laws are supplemented by a number of international conventions.
Liability is limited by both international conventions and by national legislation, so that beyond the limit (normally covered by insurance) the state can accept responsibility as insurer of last resort, as in all other aspects of industrial society.

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