India needs to sign nuclear
safeguards pact, liability convention: US
Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) India needs to complete the safeguards
agreement for its nuclear power plants and sign an international
convention on civil liability, before US companies make investments
in the Indian civil nuclear industry, said US's top nuclear
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman Dale E. Klein,
on a two-week trip to India, told reporters his organisation
would come forward if there was any issue of import and export
of technology and materials related to the nuclear sector.
before that, India has to complete two steps, sign the safeguards
agreement with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and
the international convention on civil liability," he
Klein will be meeting officials in the Department of Atomic
Energy and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board during his India
trip comes after India and US signed the India-US civilian
nuclear deal in Washington Oct 10 - ending nearly 30 years
of India's isolation from international nuclear commerce.
NRC chief delivered an address at a session on India-US cooperation
in nuclear energy, organised by the Confederation of Indian
Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and
Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage
limits the liability on the operator of nuclear plants in
the case of any accident.
the expected entry of the private sector in the nuclear industry,
signing the international convention becomes imperative.
private companies, this (convention) provides a level-playing
field. For example, in Turkey where it had called for vendors
to apply for operating a nuclear plant, there was no cap on
liability. So only Russia had applied, which is not good for
international cooperation,” Klein said.
to him, the current financial crisis would affect the nuclear
industry only if global recession leads to a downward trend
in the demand for electricity.
credit crunch could potentially impact the growth of energy.
But it has not yet translated in slowing of electricity demand.
If there is a slowdown (in electricity demand), then fewer
reactors will be built,” he said.
said that to have a successful domestic nuclear industry,
India had to ensure the security of its equipment and human
terms of regulatory environment, he suggested the government
set up a uniform structure, rather than a state-specific one.
in his address at the seminar, US ambassador to India David
Mulford said building a “large, world class, civil nuclear
industry in India will take time, capital, ingenuity, competitive
technology, a sound regulatory architecture, private sector
input, and a true political commitment to excellence”.
a few more small reactors that produce power for an inefficient
electric power system will not produce the results that India
is seeking,” Mulford added.
to “inaccurate comments” on the state of the US civil nuclear
technology, he said US nuclear power generating capacity was
27 percent of the world's total, compared to France's 17 percent.
US also has the largest number of nuclear plants, which produce
electricity at costs lower than other countries, said the
contrary to popular comment in India, over the last 15 years,
US civil nuclear engineering companies have remained at the
forefront of international civil nuclear engineering. They
have modernised and upgraded our nuclear industry, keeping
it the most efficient and competitive in the world,” Mulford
has agreed to buy two nuclear plants from US companies if
certain conditions are met.