Civil nuclear regulations necessary: France
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Last Updated: Monday, March 29, 2010, 17:40
New Delhi: With the government facing stiff opposition on its Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, France on Monday dubbed the issue as "internal" but said the rules were necessary in order to establish a robust, equitable and efficient liability regime in India.

"It is up to India to conduct its internal debates and its democratic debates, the way it has to be conducted. So, I have absolutely no comments on the process which is going on in Parliament and with government in that respect," French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont told reporters when asked for his reaction to the opposition to the Bill in India.

France was the first country to ink a civil nuclear accord with India in 2008, days after the Nuclear Suppliers Group re-opened the doors of civil nuclear commerce for the country after a 34-year hiatus.

But the French envoy made it clear that the nuclear rules were necessary, saying "all I can say is that worldwide there are nuclear liability rules and practices which have been established through the years, which are reflected in a couple of international conventions -- Paris convention for OECDs countries and Vienna convention with IAEA countries.

"And those who work in the nuclear sector will know that regulations inspired by the principles of those conventions are necessary in order to establish a robust, equitable and efficient liability regime in any country. And we trust the fact that India is going to establish such a regime because it is necessary."

The government faced stiff opposition over its Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, which provides for compensation in case of any nuclear plant related incidents. The opposition had claimed that the government's move was made under the US' pressure.

India has signed civil nuclear pacts with eight countries, including the US, Russia, UK, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Argentina and Mongolia.

Most of these countries have been pressing for such a bill stipulating the liability and other related options before they enhance their cooperation with India in the civil nuclear field.


First Published: Monday, March 29, 2010, 17:40

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