Nuclear sellout by UPA-II ?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by parijataka, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    It seems Manmohan Singh govt is all set to dilute the nuclear liability clause to please the US govt. Moreover these changes will be done bypassing Parliament and no discussion will take place. Currently nuclear power accounts for 3% of our power supply, with the new proposed nuclear powerplants it is going to comprise 5% - this is being touted as a radical increase in energy supply to the country. Moreover, six `nucular` plants are proposed - all in Gujarat. Meanwhile last week Japan shutdown its last nuclear power plant and no longer has nuclear power. Is this one of Manmohan Singh govt's last few insults to Indian citizen ?

    BYPASSING INDIA’S INTERESTS TO PLEASE US?

    The move by the Manmohan Singh Government to dilute the provisions of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010 by incorporating the suggestions of the Attorney-General has upset top nuclear scientists and former members of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

    The Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act was enacted by both Houses of Parliament in August 2010 with the purpose of holding the supplier of the equipment responsible for any mishaps resulting out of the malfunctioning of imported nuclear reactors and for ensuring prompt compensation to the victims of the nuclear accident.

    Since the US nuclear industry was not happy with the stringent provisions in the Act, the US Government has been putting pressure on India to water down the Act to suit the convenience of that country’s industry, which wants to tap the trillions of dollars worth of nuclear energy market in India.

    Attorney-General of India GE Vahanvati in a note to the Department of Atomic Energy, which referred the matter to him on September 4, has advised that it is for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), which is the sole operator of nuclear reactors in the country to decide whether to exercise the right of recourse provided by Section 17 of the Act which enables it to claim compensation in the event of a nuclear disaster.

    According to the note submitted by the AG, the NPCIL could do away with the right to claim compensation from the manufacturer/supplier of the equipment in the event of a nuclear accident. The AG’s note comes at a time when US companies like Westinghouse and General Electric are trying to hard sell their nuclear reactors to India, much against the wishes of Indian nuclear engineers and scientists.


    The Government has already diluted the powers of NPCIL by packing it with hangers on and acolytes, pointed out nuclear scientists working in BARC and the IGCAR.

    Top nuclear scientists including former members of the Atomic Energy Commission described the AG’s note as an attempt to surrender the nuclear sovereignty of India at the feet of the US Government by diluting the provisions of the Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act passed in Parliament. “Efforts to water down the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act is with an eye to hand over the entire nuclear industry of the country to the control of the United States of America,” AN Prasad, former member, AEC, told The Pioneer.

    The Act was necessitated for operationalising the India-US civil nuclear deal of 2008 which helped India getting trading status with the Nuclear Suppliers Group enabling it to import nuclear reactors and fuel from the members of the NSG.

    The US manufacturers of nuclear reactors too insisted that India should enact the civil liability Act so that they could claim insurance in their country in the event of any accidents involving the reactors supplied by them.

    The Act ran into a controversy following the UPA Government’s decision to cap the maximum compensation it could claim from the foreign manufacturers to Rs 1,500 crores.

    The US Government was insisting on behalf of the nuclear industry in that country to amend the Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act to free them from paying any compensation to the victims of any nuclear mishap in India resulting out of the equipment supplied by them.

    “They want a safeguard in the Act which would absolve the US equipment suppliers of any kind of liability in the eventuality of an accident. It was the absence of such a safeguard and Act which helped Union Carbide to go scot-free though the 1984 leak in its Bhopal unit killed more than 20,000 people,” said a senior scientist in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, near Mumbai.

    He pointed out that the 1,000 MW nuclear reactor at Koodankulam has been built on the condition that the supplier, Russia, need not pay any compensation to India in the eventuality of an accident.


    “The Americans, French and the Japanese are asking for the same liberal terms,” said the scientist who did not want his name to be quoted.

    Prasad, who is also the former director of the elite Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, near Mumbai, said the India-USA Civil Nuclear Deal itself was detrimental to the interests of India.

    “Though the deal was signed in 2008, the Indian nuclear industry stays where it was prior to 2008. Not a single megawatt of nuclear power has been generated additionally during the last six years. We have to be content with the 20 nuclear reactors spread across the country contributing 4,000 MW of electric power,” he said.

    Prominent nuclear scientists pointed out that the once powerful Atomic Energy Commission, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (which operates Indian nuclear reactors) have been jam-packed with stooges.

    However, A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was of the view that there is no way for the Government other than sticking to the law enacted by Parliament.

    “If they want to make any changes in the Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act, they have to get the permission of Parliament. They cannot bypass Parliament like that,” said A Gopalakrishnan.

    A serving nuclear scientist too pointed out that the Nuclear Liability Law is an Act passed by the Indian Parliament and the Government has no way other than following the law in letter and spirit.

    “However, the nuclear suppliers are not happy with the provisions in the Bill, which make them liable to pay compensation in the eventuality of an accident. They are lobbying with the Indian Government to amend the law so that they could sell their reactors to India,’ said Prasad.

    He pointed out that Manmohan Singh was not at all enthusiastic about getting the Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act passed in Parliament since the onus would be on the suppliers in the eventuality of nuclear accidents.

    “In 2008, the then chairman of AEC Anil Kakodkar declared that the country would set up 600 nuclear reactors with total capacity of 1,200 GW by 2040. It is humanly impossible to set up 600 reactors in a country like India in 30 years,” said Prasad.
     
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  3. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Firstly the civil liability bill passed by the Parliament was itself wrong in my opinion.

    Worldwide the various Governments were very clear in their thinking that Nuclear Energy with all it's inherent risks were a necessity they could not do without. Also it was crystal clear to them as they had civilian Nuclear reactors, in case of any calamity the civilian operator would not be able to handle the huge costs involved. So for these situations the local Government would take responsibility. This is very logical and fair.

    In case of India since NPCIL the sole operator was a Government organisation the liability remained with the Government. But in this case we are now going to be dealing with Civil suppliers and not with any Government agency. We have made an exception with the Russians because there was no other option and we now need to extend it to the Americans and the French.

    I feel that the media and the opposition parties have got it all wrong and are barking up the wrong tree.
     
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  4. hello_10

    hello_10 Tihar Jail Banned

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    my personal experience always suggest that, Manmohan/ Sonia/ Rahul, including this Pranab Mukherjee work like spies of foreign nations......... my personal experience always suggest that western nations try to keep this country on control, but they don't really want to harm it. but it was always clear to me that these main 'four' people are only for the purpose to harm this country.....

    while this Narendra Modi always seems to be a a duplicate man, who first made a proper damage to BJP itself, and now working in a set way to provide enough opportunities to those foreigners who may get a reason to mobilize the whole world against this country. its always clear that Narendra Modi as a prime minister will result in a serious geo-political losses for India on the world platform. i would support anyone from BJP for the post of PM, except this man Modi......
     
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  5. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Do you know how much the US government made BP pay for the Gulf oil spill. And please dont tell me the analogy is not apt.
     
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  6. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    The potential damages for a Nuclear Accident cannot be compared to the oil spill.

    Only Governments have the kind of muscle ot handle such accidents. Remember Chernobyl.
     
  7. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Yes but both cost the same thing to fix (as much as can be) - MONEY. Is that not what the discussion is about?
     
  8. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    There is no corporation in the world which could have funded a Chernobyl kind of disaster. In case of nuclear accidents there is a cap for the liability and more so in case of India the operator will be NPCIL.
     
  9. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Of course not. That doesn't mean they pay nothing. And why are you repeatedly referring to Chernobyl? Nuclear accidents happen on various scales and types. An accident does not mean a meltdown. I would ask you also to refer to liability laws in other countries. Over n out.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    A sleight of hand, actually.

    However, if the supplier has no liability, then if there is a catastrophe, the Indian taxpayer will have to bear the burden.

    Of course, most will say that the chances are remote.

    But so was Union Carbides Bhopal Unit.

    It was never expected, but then it happened and when it happened it was pure death and those who survived are disease prone.

    Anderson skipped it and the US said two fingers!

    But when the oil spill occured off Florida, then the world conscience was inflamed! And compensation high!

    Different nations, different strokes!

    Isn't it interesting that Japan has ordered the scrapping of the nuclear facilities where the tsunami caused the nuclear havoc?
     
  11. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Okay found the liability law that was ratified by 80 countries at IAEA

    Publications: International Conventions and Legal Agreements

    The civilain liability bill from India does not conform to this. And as far as I know India had promised to be a signatory to this but has not signed it.
     
  12. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Gold cost 1/6 the of what it is today in 1997. As per the nuclear deal we were supposed to be reprocessing spent fuel through TOT of ENR tech. But that's not happening either. So let's not bring up what was promised and not.
     
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Nuclear Deal has remained a non starter and nothing has happened.

    It is MMS' Last Stand like that of Custer.

    Have a nuclear plant as the showpiece of delivery of the Deal and say Bharat Nirman!

    Thunderous clapping.

    Votes cascading in!
     
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  14. mahesh

    mahesh Regular Member

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    why everyone are talking like japan have permanently shutting down it's nuclear reactors !!!


    Japan was in the process of deciding which reactors were safe to restart based on new nuclear regulations introduced in July.

    A number of nuclear power operators applied in July to reopen under new rules adopted after the Fukushima disaster. However gaining approvals will not be easy as industry regulator are still worried about the safety concerns, following continuing contamination of ground water from the leaking water storage tanks at Fukushima. Industry projections for a re-start vary from as early as December to mid-2014. Shikoku Electric Power's Ikata plant, Kyushu Electric's Sendai plant and Hokkaido Electric's Tomari plant are among those likely to be the first to re-start.



    Japan shuts down last nuclear reactor — RT News

    mean while i think GE was among who built reactors, did they compensate anything ?
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No one is talking about Japan's nuclear reactors.

    Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was not expected in living memory. But it happened!

    It is about unforeseen disasters that can happen and the consequences.

    If the supplier has no liability, then they can give any sub standard stuff with grave consequences to be borne by the Indians and the Indian taxpayer.

    Is that something being said immoral?

    If it were so, then why are there Consumer Courts fining companies for not meeting their liabilities?

    Let all manufacturers be free, be it of bidis or cars or aircraft or ships, from any and all liability!

    What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, right?

    Visit Bhopal, visit the hospital and those affected because of the Union Carbide and then go to the place of your worship and thank your God that you were not there.

    I have visited Bhopal and seen the misery and the fact that nothing really can be done to the seriously affected.

    Have you seen a deformed child?

    Let us not think of our own comfort. Let us also be careful how the comfort of others vanished because of our greed to have a happier life at great cost when catastrophe occurs.

    Only natural calamities cannot be avoided for love or money!



    Because there was no liability clause!

    Japan and Japanese tax payers will have to lump it while GE laughs it way to the bank!
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
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  16. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Sir,

    suppliers have a liability and as per the IAEA convention there is a cap on it and also there is a time period for the supplies, 10 years.

    The Indian Liability law goes much further than that. There is no problem in it, we are a sovereign nation and we can pass any law. Here the point is that we have given leeway to the Russians and now the Government wants to give the same to the Americans.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Please see what Vahanvati has opined.

    Then you will realise the sleight of hand!

    Article 17 of the Act which concerns Liability is being circumvented!

    I am not being cussed.

    I am just worried, given the weak kneed and impotent manner in which the Bhopal Gas Tragedy has been handled and the poor, who are not empowered,. are bearing the brunt, while the US company has laughed its way to the bank and the US Courts have told India to take a running jump!

    We export shrimps etc. Have you seen how the consignment are rejected on flimsy excuses because of their Laws?

    If their Laws are supreme, then why not ours?

    If our Laws can be cast asunder and thrown to the winds, why waste time having Laws passed in our Parliament?

    If we are a third rate nation that the world can say bugger off, then let us be the third rate nation and not act as if we are some Nation which is reckonable.

    Everyone is kicking us, be it the US, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China and we accept it as God given boon to be kicked!.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
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  18. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Ray sir , well said !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  19. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Suppliers have liability only when their product is defective & not by default. Operator (in this case GoI) has the liability of any kind of nuclear accident.

    By waiving off this liability you are sending a signal to suppliers that you can send any defective machinery/reactor & if an accident happens because of that then you are not liable, we will clean up with our own tax-payer money.

    In this waiver is allowed, quality control checks of the suppliers will drop.

    I think any one shouldn't be given a free hand on this. Its playing with lives of the people at cost of our own tax-payers money.
     
  20. Vishwarupa

    Vishwarupa Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sorry for off topic,

    India should soon test missiles that can reach every point on earth(10000km+). Every country in this world is very selective when it comes to India & India's interest.

    In this case khangress scums literally wants to sell Indians to US by not have liability law clause. If our politicians fails to get us justice (incase of any nuclear disaster) at least our armed forces will have right weapons to hit back.
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Accused of diluting nuclear liability clause, govt promises to stick to law

    NEW DELHI: The government's effort to find an honourable way around the constraint of the nuclear liability law without actually violating it ran into rough weather on Thursday with the opposition accusing it of seeking to dilute the law for the sake of US and other foreign suppliers.

    The opposition seized upon attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati's opinion, as reported in TOI, that the country's nuclear operator NPCIL could waive the right to recourse to suppliers' liability in a commercial contract for a foreign-supplied nuclear plant, to allege that the government was seeking to dilute the provision in the nuclear liability law that would hold foreign reactor suppliers liable in cases of mishaps caused by faulty and defective equipment.

    The government's decision that an early works agreement between NPCIL and Westinghouse could be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security without having to seek the nod of the Atomic Energy Commission was cited by the BJP and Left as evidence of government's desire to undo the liability law for the sake of American companies ahead of PM Manmohan Singh's US visit at the end of next week.

    With BJP and Left alleging that the government would use the AG's opinion to waive the liability of foreign suppliers, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) clarified in a statement that there was no question of subverting Indian law.

    "Foreign suppliers as well as domestic vendors have raised a number of queries with regard to the manner in which the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 and its associated rules will apply to their contracts. Since these queries involve questions of law, Department of Atomic Energy sought the opinion of the ministry of law and justice on these issues. This will be examined by the Department of Atomic Energy and NPCIL," DAE said.

    Foreign minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said the law and Parliament's approval remained supreme. "The protracted negotiations that have taken place between India, the US and commercial companies in the US have been for this reason that we have stood on our ground. We have said that whatever position Parliament has taken, there no question of retreating from it. We have been convinced, and have tried to convince the US negotiators that whatever basis we have of our agreement, there is adequate scope in that for them to get the protection that they legitimately deserve."

    When questioned in 2012, the MEA too had held the view that the operator had the right to choose not to exercise the right to recourse, and thereby limit the liability for the supplier.

    The US has been very critical of India's liability law, and this is generally believed to be one of the major hurdles to the relationship. The PM, who made the nuclear deal the centrepiece of UPA-1, has been wanting to fix the problems with the law, but the allegations of sellout underlined once again that he has only limited maneuver space.

    The CCS is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to decide on the early works agreement with Westinghouse. This agreement, as reported by TOI, opens the way for detailed and confidential discussions between the two sides.

    At the heart of the government's actions is this — the government's signature achievement, a nuclear deal, to enable India to access clean nuclear power by allowing foreign-origin reactors has come unstuck because of the provision in the law holding foreign suppliers liable.

    "The government can do one of two things — keep the law's provisions and make nuclear power horribly expensive. Or lower the cost of entry for foreign players, while building strong safety mechanisms. We have chosen the latter," said an official close to the development.

    The nuclear liability law, with its supplier liability clause, cooled the ardour of many countries who wanted to invest in India's nuclear energy sector. The US, France and Russia have all objected to Clause 17(B) and Clause 46 which together not only make it difficult for them to invest, but also exponentially raises the cost of nuclear power, which was not factored in by government managers when they were drafting the law.

    India signed the Convention for Supplementary Compensation (CSC) in November 2010 but hasn't been able to ratify it yet, because its domestic law violates international regulations, which places the liability for compensation solely on the operator, in this case, NPCIL. There is no provision for supplier liability in the CSC. But the liability law has taken a strongly emotional hue, which, along with its declining political capital, has made it difficult for the government to return to Parliament to amend the law. Internationally, the government has been under fire for making it difficult for foreign companies.

    The government codified rules and regulations to the law in November 2011, which stated that the liability would be limited to the period of the initial contract, that is, five years. The CPM's Sitaram Yechury raised an amendment to the regulations, but since it was not followed through, the amendment lapsed.

    In 2012, the liability law ran into trouble with Russia. Russia refused to let the agreements for Kudankulam 3 and 4 be governed by the liability law. That would raise the price of the power produced to the extent that it would be priced out of the market. At the time too, Vahanavati had said, "Section 17(a) provides for recourse if such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing. If the operator chooses not to incorporate such a provision in the contract, it would be open for him to do so."

    Both Russia and France, who have started negotiations on nuclear plants with India, have indicated this would have to be legally watertight in any commercial contract.

    Accused of diluting nuclear liability clause, govt promises to stick to law - The Times of India
     

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