In a significant step which will enable it to engage in international nuclear commerce, India signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) on Wednesday, which sets parameters on a nuclear operator's financial liability, at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The move comes just days ahead of President Barack Obama's visit here and the US was quick to react by saying that it will benefit the India's suppliers, industry as well as its people.
The Indian move is seen as an effort towards allaying concerns of American companies on account of the newly-enacted Nuclear Liability law. "We can confirm that the Indian government has signed the CSC this morning," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) press officials told PTI from Vienna.
Reacting to the development, US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer said "the US notes the signing of the CSC. I think in terms of the signing, it recognises the benefits to India, to Indian suppliers, Indian industry and to the Indian people.This helps affordable and clean electricity for the people of India. "
The international Convention provides for compensation in case of trans-national implications of a nuclear accident and has been signed by 14 countries, including India. However, only four countries-- the US, Argentina, Morocco and Romania--have ratified the Convention so far.
Upon entry into force, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage would establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the event of a nuclear accident. The CSC provides for establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a state's exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries-related income.
It also sets parameters on a nuclear operator´s financial liability, time limits governing possible legal action, requires that nuclear operators maintain insurance or other financial security measures and provides for a single competent court to hear claims.
According to IAEA, all countries are free to participate in the Convention regardless of their involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions or the presence of nuclear installations on their territories. Adopted on 12 September 1997, the Convention was opened for signature at the IAEA´s 41st General Conference at Vienna that same month and is set to enter into force on the 90th day after date of ratification by at least five countries which have a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity.