New Delhi, Jul 20: The CPI(M) today asked the government to reject the American proposal to “dilute” the Civil Nuclear Liability Act that provides for suppliers' liability in the event of a nuclear accident. “The US continues to exercise pressure on the Indian government to dilute the Civil Nuclear Liability law which was adopted by Parliament,” the party Politburo said here.
In a statement, it said this demand had become “evident” from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement asking India to engage with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “ensure that the nuclear liability law ‘fully conforms' with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)”.
Maintaining that CSC “does not provide for suppliers' liability” in case of a nuclear accident, the party demanded that the UPA government should reject this suggestion. Observing that the IAEA was “only a depository for the Convention and cannot judge a law passed by Parliament”, it accused the government of “vacillating and seeking to accommodate the US concerns which are primarily the interests of its nuclear industry”.
It said the Civil Nuclear Liability Act was passed in Parliament “after compelling the government to accept section 17(b) which provides for foreign suppliers liability. This national law should prevail over any international convention”.
The CPI(M) also said despite being passed since it was adopted in Parliament, the Act has not yet been notified and come into force, “nor have the rules under the Act been placed before Parliament”.
It demanded that the UPA government should explain why this has not been done.
The government should “firmly adhere to the law as established with regard to nuclear liability of foreign suppliers. This is all the more necessary after the Fukushima disaster”, the CPI(M) said.
Instead of the private company which operates the reactors or the foreign suppliers, billions of dollars are being spent by the Japanese government after the nuclear accident to clean-up and rehabilitate those affected, it pointed out. PTI