India signs CSC; US says it will benefit Indians

Being a signatory to the CSC agreement will enable India to do nuclear commerce.

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2010, 21:09 PM IST

New Delhi: In a significant step which
will enable it to engage in international nuclear commerce,
India on Wednesday signed the Convention on Supplementary
Compensation (CSC), which sets parameters on a nuclear
operator`s financial liability, at the IAEA 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 agency 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.

PTI