India ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna five years after signing it
What is CSC?
- 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.
- The fund is pooled in by contracting parties based on their own installed nuclear capacities.
- It also aims at establishing treaty relations among States that belong to the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy.
- It seeks to establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident.
- 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 states 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.
What are the advantage for India?
- It addresses the concerns of foreign nuclear equipment suppliers. International nuclear reactor makers have been reluctant to set up plants in India because of a 2010 domestic liability law that makes equipment suppliers accountable for accidents and not the plant operators, as is the global norm.
- It will spur the growth of nuclear energy.
- India became part of a global legal regime that has established a standard for compensation of victims in the event of a nuclear accident.
- India will get access to international funding.
What are the criticism of India’s move?
Many nuclear experts feel that this move violate the domestic Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA), 2010, Clauses 17(1)(B) and 46.
- Under Section 17(b), liability for a nuclear accident can be channelled from the operator to suppliers of nuclear material, specifically if the accident is due to an act of the supplier or his employee.
- Section 46 permits victims of a nuclear incident to sue the operator or the supplier for damages applying tort law.