As India passed the nuclear liability bill, corporate America cautioned New Delhi that in the absence of an effective International Atomic Energy Agency's Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) compliant liability regime could preclude private sector involvement.
"The absence of an effective, CSC-compliant liability regime could preclude involvement by the private sector – both Indian and foreign – and stymie India's multi-year effort to develop civil nuclear power," the US India Business Council (USIBC) said in a statement, adding that it is currently studying the legislation passed by the Parliament.
"We will seek clarification from the Government of India on whether and how Indian and foreign suppliers can move forward with the NPCIL to vitalize India's nuclear power sector," USIBC – the top most American body representing US companies doing business in India, said.
"We have taken a position from the outset that is consistent with the position stated publicly by India's nuclear operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, and supported by major Indian business associations and commercial nuclear suppliers – that absolute and exclusive liability must be channeled to operators of nuclear power plants, and that a sole remedy must be established for compensation of claims," it said.
These principles are basic to international best practices as reflected in the IAEA's CSC, it said, adding that virtually all other countries around the world with civilian nuclear programs have adopted such legislation to provide protection to their citizens, while facilitating nuclear commerce.
"A nuclear liability regime consistent with the CSC will safeguard the Indian public interest by delivering swift, certain and adequate compensation in the unlikely event of an accident. It will also attract to India the most responsible international suppliers, and integrate Indian industry into the global commercial nuclear supply chain," the USIBC said.
The US State Department had no comment to make at this point of time.
"We have no comment at this time," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said when asked.