India’s nuclear power agency has cleared a long-delayed insurance policy for all 21 reactors, officials said on Saturday, marking a significant leap in the country’s ambitious plans to become one of the world’s top nuclear power generators.
Officials said the insurance policy was cleared by the board of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on Thursday under the India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP), set up in June 2015 to address liability issues for both operators and suppliers.
The insurance policy of suppliers was also finalised on April 21 and is likely to be cleared in the next meeting between GIC Re, the lead manager of the Insurance Pool, and industry representatives, they added. India plans to build around 60 nuclear reactors with an aim to produce 63,000 megawatts (MW) of power by 2032, from 5,780 MW at present, as part of a broader push to move away from fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
A 2010 law giving the state-run NPCIL the right to seek damages from suppliers in the event of an accident had been putting off suppliers till now.
“We are very happy that all the concerns of suppliers have been addressed by GIC regarding the nuclear insurance pool. We just need clarity on from when the insurance policy would be active and till what period or what is called the start-up of initial licensing period,” a senior official of Godrej and Boyce, a precision supplier, told HT.
India has already deposited its instrument of ratification for the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) with the International Atomic Energy Agency in February this year. The CSC requires signatories to channel liability to the operator and offers access to relief funds.
An official said the Modi government set up a Rs 1,500-crore insurance pool after putting the liability issue on fast track.
Westinghouse Corporation submitted its techno-commercial bid for six nuclear reactors for the 6000 MW Mithi-Virdi power plant in Gujarat in February and an empowered committee will evaluate the bid on April 28 in Mumbai.
The Westinghouse deal is expected to be finalised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the US this June.