India’s Sham Nuclear Liability Bill By Toxic Watch

New Delhi: British Petroleum (BP) is facing a bill of up to $34 billion from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. After US senators demanded, the oil company deposited $20 billion (about Rs 92000 crores) into a ring-fenced account to meet escalating compensation costs but the way Indian legislators are agreeing to a Rs 1500 crore cap on nuclear disaster from large nuclear power plants, Rs 300 crore cap for institutions involved in reprocessing fuel and Rs 100 crore cap for small research reactors is unacceptable and condemnable.

Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and ex-officio Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, one of the drafters of the Bill is guilty of ignoring the consequences of possible nuclear disaster because his text has privatized profits and made liabilities public. Mamohan Singh who is in-charge of Department of Atomic Energy appears to be guilty of dereliction of duty as well. The Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests chaired by T Subbirami Reddy reveals their culpability quite categorically. This report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on 18th August, 2010. Report attached What else can explain their indifference towards other concerned ministries like health, agriculture, labour, water resources etc. Aren’t they relevant? What can explain the lack of consensus among the committee members even in matters of national interest?

India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 is meant to pave the way for India to sign International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage, 1997. The question that stares citizens in the face is: whether or not the proposed liability Bill and the pre-existing IAEA’s compensation treaty in the supreme interest of present and future generation of Indians? If India decides to join the CSC, it will be an exercise in surrendering its sovereignty to a conflict of interest ridden regime like IAEA which is both the promoter and regulator of nuclear commerce. Like IAEA, Indian the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is dependent on the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) whose mandate is charged with promoting nuclear power in India.

Read full article here: India’s Sham Nuclear Liability Bill By Toxic Watch.

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