The maximum compensation that nuclear suppliers will have to pay in case of a mishap will be pegged at ₹2,160 crore.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs points out that the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act of 2010 (CLND) presently prescribes that the maximum amount of liability in respect of each nuclear incident shall be the rupee equivalent of 300 million Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). “As the current value of 1 SDR is about ₹87, three hundred million SDRs are equivalent to about ₹2,610 crore,” the statement says.

The Ministry adds that there is no proposal to amend the CLND Act 2010 or the Rules of 2011. Pointing out that the operator’s maximum liability shall be ₹1,500 crore, the statement adds that in case the total liability exceeds ₹1,500 crore, this gap of ₹1,110 crore will be bridged by the Central Government. “Beyond ₹2,610 crore, India will be able to access international funds under the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) once it is a party to that Convention,” the statement adds. The CSC was set up to establish a worldwide liability regime and to increase the amount of compensation available to victims of nuclear accidents.

The presentations were made during the meeting of the Contact Group which met thrice in Delhi, London and Vienna between December 2014 and January 2015. The idea of a contact group was mooted by Narendra Modi and Barrack Obama when they met in September 2014.

The group, comprising representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Atomic Energy, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Law & Justice, in addition to representatives from the US Government, also had an interface with NPCIL on the Indian side and Westinghouse and General Electric on the US side. The pool covers risks pertaining to the liability of the nuclear operator as well as the suppliers. Three types of policies are envisaged here: a Tier 1 policy for operators; a Tier 2 policy for turnkey suppliers and a Tier 3 policy for suppliers other than turnkey suppliers. The pricing of premiums will depend on factors such as risk probability, possible severity of damage and exposure to people and property around nuclear installations.

GIC Re is the pool administrator engaged with NPCIL and others to work out the premiums based on risk appraisal. GIC Re and 4 other PSUs will together contribute a capacity of ₹750 crore out of the ₹1,500 crore. The balance capacity will be contributed by the Government on a tapering basis.