Delhi to notify rules under nuclear liability act in Aug news
08 July 2011

New Delhi: Commercial nuclear activity in the country is likely to receive a fillip with the Centre all set to notify implementation rules of the Nuclear Liability Act by August. Implementation of these rules is likely to kick-start negotiations with foreign nuclear reactor and equipment suppliers. 

India has an extremely ambitious plan to install 20,000 mw of nuclear capacity. Such an ambitious target cannot be achieved without participation of foreign suppliers. But no commercial negotiations are possible without implementation of rules under the aegis of the law for Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. In the absence of such rules, neither the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) nor foreign suppliers like Areva, GE and Westinghouse can initiate commercial contracts.

''A high-powered committee has approved the rules of implementation of the civil nuclear liability law. We will notify the rules within a month,'' V Narayanasamy, minister of state in the prime minister's office said here.

Once notification is issued foreign suppliers, in particular, are bound to take a hard look at the details, analysing the quantum of their liability and the operator's right to recourse, before making any moves.

Currently, seven reactors are under construction with a total capacity of 5,300 mw. These are all scheduled for completion by 2016. Even if a contract with French major Areva is secured and work at the Jaitapur complex, which is earmarked for Areva, commences in the first half of 2012, it would still require seven years to complete the first 1,600 mw reactor and another year to commission the second unit.

Additional problems are related to issues of land acquisition and placement of projects next to huge reserves of water, which basically means coastal locations.

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Delhi to notify rules under nuclear liability act in Aug