Liabilities arising from a nuclear disaster will soon be insured as the insurance pool proposed by the national reinsurer – General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) – is likely to take off by March, said a senior official.

The move to create an insurance cover for nuclear reactors assumes significance as India plans to ramp up its nuclear power generation capacity and also to allay fears that rose in the aftermath of the Fukushima incident.

At present, nuclear reactors in India only have insurance cover for zones that are outside the area of radiation and reactors.

Ashok Kumar Roy, Chairman and Managing Director of GIC Re, the sole domestic reinsurer, said, “We have put it (the formation of the pool) on fast track. We are working with a time-plan to launch it by March. The operators will pay the premium and the general insurance industry will provide the insurance cover. The pool will be backed by international reinsurers and will be commercially viable. It will be a comprehensive cover which will include construction, testing, operation and liability.”

While the negotiations on forming a pool for nuclear plants started in 2010, they were stuck as the Government and international reinsurers were unable to arrive at a consensus on inspection of the facilities.

However, Roy said most domestic nuclear power plants have now agreed to inspection by international teams.

“We have been given to understand that most of them (nuclear power plants) are now ready (to undergo inspection). The insurance pool will cover all nuclear power plants which are open to inspection by international teams,” said Roy.

The pool will cover the operators of nuclear plants as stipulated in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, which provides for a liability of Rs 1,500 crore per nuclear incident.

According to Roy, there are 26 nuclear international pools across the world, which are linked to a mother pool. “So, for any risk, each one of them will take a small portion. Similarly, when India joins the pool, all 26 pools will be extending their support in a small way. We will also be able to provide them support in their risks,” Roy said. Asked about pricing, he said it will be based on international rates.