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Insurance pool for nuclear sector within legal structure: House panel

The parliamentary standing committee on science & technology, environment and forests on Saturday said the agreement reached between India and the US to operationalize the civil nuclear deal was within the fundamental policy and legal architecture, including the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act.

The committee, during the final day of its two-day Mumbai visit, also hoped that the insurance pool envisaged by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) would be able to provide comfort to suppliers on the issue of liability capping.

Committee chairman Ashwani Kumar said as per the government statement, there has been some progress made to remove apprehensions of domestic and foreign suppliers to the nuclear sector.

“The government has been able to convince the US administration and foreign companies during President Barack Obama’s visit, that they need not be usually concerned in the event of future liability,” he said.

Kumar, who was accompanied by other committee members, was speaking to reporters after meeting with the officials of DAE and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and also after visiting the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in north-east Mumbai.

On the issue of nuclear safety and security, Kumar recalled that during the UPA-II regime, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a safety audit of all nuclear power plants following the Fukushima accident that took place in March 2011.

“During our deliberations, the DAE officials informed that a failsafe mechanism has been put in place in the event of any accident and the highest safety standards are being followed,” he added.

On impact of additional safety applications on capital cost and per unit tariff of nuclear power project, Kumar said the tariff has been quite competitive. The current per unit tariff ranges between 97 paise (Tarapaur plant) and Rs 3.94 (for Kudankulam project). The average tariff of nuclear project in 2013-14 was Rs 2.17.

Kumar said that DAE and NPCIL officials have informed that the private sector was quite keen to associate with India’s civil nuclear energy addition programme. Currently,  capacity addition of 16,100 MW consisting of 5,600 MW through indigneous reactors and 10,500 MW through reactors based on foreign technical cooperation is under various stages of implementation.

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