US wants India to get nuclear liability law vetted by IAEA

By Arun Kumar,IANS,

Washington: Voicing concerns over India’s nuclear liability law, the United States has asked New Delhi to engage with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to see if it’s in compliance with the Convention on Supplemental Compensation.

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“There continue to be serious concerns that India’s 2010 nuclear liability law is not consistent with the CSC,” State Department spokesperson stated Thursday in response to a question raised at the press briefing earlier.

“The IAEA is an appropriate venue for clarification on issues related to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation on Nuclear Damage (CSC), which deals with international nuclear liability,” the statement said.

“The Agency can be helpful in assisting countries in evaluating their compliance with the CSC.”

The landmark India-US civil nuclear deal is still awaiting full implementation with US companies reluctant to set up nuclear power plants in India because of its perceived tough nuclear liability regime.

Earlier this week, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns encouraged India to engage with the IAEA to look at whether its nuclear liability bill conforms with the CSC or not.

Asked at the briefing if in suggesting that IAEA get involved, the US believed that the Indian law does not conform with the CSC, spokesman Mark Toner said: “No. I don’t think it means that at all.”

“But we certainly, as we move forward with a civil nuclear partnership, an agreement with India, we want to make sure that we do comply with international standards on nuclear energy,” he said.

The US, Toner said sought compliance with international standards on nuclear energy in all types of civil and nuclear deals.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])