France waits for India to clarify n-liability framework

April 5th, 2012 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) In the midst of the run-up to the French presidential elections, France has been in dialogue with India to clarify issues relating to the nuclear liability law, and is waiting for New Delhi to establish the legal framework before signing commercial contracts for setting up atomic reactors.

Last month, French nuclear experts had come to India and held talks with Indian experts to clarify issues relating to the nuclear liability regime which imposes an onerous burden on foreign suppliers of nuclear equipment in case of an accident.

Informed sources said as liability rules are still pending in parliament, France will wait for India to complete its due process and establish the legal framework for facilitating nuclear business.

France’s nuclear safety authority has also independently conducted a review of European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) in light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year and has shared the findings with India. The EPRs, France has assured, are perfectly safe.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, India had sought new test reports from the French nuclear authority on safety issues.

French nuclear giant Areva has contracted to build six reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra. Areva is expected to begin technical talks with Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) for the finalisation of the agreement after the nuclear liability issues are resolved.

Sources pointed out that the outcome of the presidential elections in France will not affect bilateral civil nuclear partnership between the two countries.

France depends on nuclear energy for 78 percent of its electricity requirements.

France had welcomed the notification of civil nuclear liability rules which were presented in parliament in November last year.

According to the new Rules of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act, the foreign suppliers of nuclear material to Indian nuclear power plants would not be held liable for accidents caused by defective or faulty equipment supplied by them if the accident takes place after a guarantee period specified by them.

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