US companies need not unduly worry about nuclear mishap claims: Kumar

Assuring that India's civil nuclear deal with the US is within the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar on Saturday said US firms need not be "unduly" concerned over accident claims.

Mumbai: Assuring that India's civil nuclear deal with the US is within the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar on Saturday said US firms need not be "unduly" concerned over accident claims.

"Only time will tell how much have we been able to convince foreign companies. One thing is for sure, there will be no changes in the current law. The government has been able to assure the US administration and we are hopeful that foreign companies would not be unduly concerned about their future liabilities," he said.

Kumar was speaking to reporters after the Committee's visit to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) here.

Kumar, a Rajya Sabha MP, said the panel had a meaningful discussion with BARC and NPCIL officials on significant issues of Civil Nuclear Energy Programme.

"We were told that India is presently producing 5,570 MW of nuclear energy, and another 1000 MW would be added when the Kudankulam reactor in Tamil Nadu becomes fully operational," he said.

Kumar said in order to further enhance the national goal of sustainable development through clean and green energy, nuclear energy is the only way forward.

He said nuclear scientists should be given full credit for pursuing the future goal to achieve 10,500 MW of nuclear power.

Kumar said recent visit of US president Barack Obama has brought back the focus on nuclear energy.

"Private domestic companies are also very keen to cooperate and collaborate with NPCIL towards the enhancement of the civil nuclear programme," he said.

Kumar said various non-energy applications of nuclear science were also discussed, more particularly issues related to nuclear medicines and nuclear agriculture. PTI

"The Department of Atomic Energy has joined hands with the Ministry of Health to set up nuclear medicine centres for cancer treatment at different regions of the country," Kumar said.

"The model we have adopted is that if you have a main facility in Mumbai, you do not need another at Pune or Nagpur, though there would be regional centre for the convenience of patients. They will have access to the best and the most advanced form of treatment," he said.

The committee chariman expressed satisfaction over new seed varieties developed by BARC which are bacteria-resistant and have much higher productivity.  

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