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Controversy over nuclear liability law ahead of Manmohan Singh’s US visit

US sees Civil Liability for Nuclear Disaster Act as hurdle in selling nuclear reactors to India.

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: March 14, 2014 3:51:26 pm

Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US,a controversy has broken out over the nuclear liability law with reports suggesting that an agreement will be signed which may not be in tune with the law.

US still has concerns on India’s nuclear liability law: Blake

The Cabinet Committee on Security will consider a proposal to sign an agreement between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the US-based operator Westinghouse Electric Company.

Related: A guide to India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill,2010

The US sees the Civil Liability for Nuclear Disaster Act

as hurdle in selling nuclear reactors to India.

Related: US asks India to consult IAEA on nuclear liability law

The law allows NPCIL to seek partial compensation from suppliers if their reactors are involved in a nuclear accident.

But in an opinion to the Department of Atomic Energy,Attorney General G E Vahanvati is learnt to have stated that it is upto the nuclear plant operator to invoke section 17 of the Act regarding liability of suppliers in case of a mishap.

The opinion will help New Delhi sign the contract.

But the government sought to downplay the controversy saying that there will be no dilution on the issue and the interest of India will be protected.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said while India needs energy,it will get it at its “own terms and conditions.”

He said the two sides have their own points of view,the discussions should result in a “win-win” situation for both the sides.

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