The government plans to use a high-level civil nuclear conference in the Capital on Friday to push the proposal for an insurance pool to indemnify global nuclear suppliers against liability in case of an accident, in a bid to free up billions of dollars in trade.
Sources said the aim of bringing together all the stakeholders, especially foreign and domestic equipment suppliers, is to address their concerns over the issue of legal responsibility and explain the way an insurance pool works, including in countries like the US and France.
Companies have raised objections to India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act that says nuclear equipment suppliers are liable for damages from an accident, as firms say this is a sharp deviation from international norms that put the onus on the operator to maintain safety.
The government has made it clear that the law will not be amended, but has suggested the Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool as a risk-transfer mechanism.
Five public sector firms, led by General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC), will provide Rs 750 crore for the project, while the Centre will contribute a similar sum.
India and the United States signed a landmark agreement to cooperate on nuclear power back in 2008, but the liability law has proved to be a stumbling block.
“The intent of the meeting is to familiarise both Indian and foreign suppliers, including GE, Westinghouse and L&T, with the INIP,” a government source said.
Officials from the department of atomic energy, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, external affairs ministry, GIC and representatives of various nuclear suppliers as well as experts are expected to attend Friday’s event.