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France welcomes India n-liability rules

This is the first response from the French government after the new rules were announced on November 16.

Almost two weeks after India announced its much-awaited rules for nuclear liability,France on Tuesday expressed satisfaction that the new rules put responsibility on all the stakeholders,foreign as well as domestic entities. This is the first response from the French government after the new rules were announced on November 16.

“We are satisfied to see that the legal framework that is being drafted applies to all the involved parties: foreign suppliers,such as France,Russia and the United States,as well as Indian ones,” François Richier,the new French ambassador to India,told The Indian Express.

French nuclear giant Areva is contracted to build six nuclear plants in Jaitapur,Maharashtra,and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe in his visit to India in October had expressed concern about the nuclear liability law.

“We are satisfied to see that India is progressing in the definition of the legal framework of civil responsibility for nuclear damage,as it is essential that precise and clear rules govern our bilateral cooperation projects,” the French ambassador said.

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According to the new Rules of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act,the foreign suppliers of nuclear material to Indian nuclear power plants would not be held liable for accidents caused by defective or faulty equipment supplied by them if the accident takes place after a guarantee period specified by them.

The suppliers of nuclear material would be allowed to specify a ‘product liability period’ beyond which they would not be held liable for any accident. The operator of the nuclear power plant concerned would,therefore,have no ‘right of recourse’ against the suppliers after this period is over,the rules say.

These rules have been prepared to assuage the concerns expressed by the French,the US,Russian governments and nuclear firms after the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act,commonly known as the Nuclear Liability Act,was passed by Parliament in August last year after much debate. The notification of the rules paves the way for its operationalisation. These rules will now be placed before Parliament.

First published on: 30-11-2011 at 01:07:38 am
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