Exempting Russians from n-liability unacceptable: CPI

September 19th, 2012 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 19 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu unit of the CPI Wednesday demanded that Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) as a whole be subject to the nuclear liability law and said that exempting the Russian suppliers from being liable for any accident at the plant is “not acceptable”.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) also demanded that the government ask nuclear power and chemical plant operators or equipment suppliers to keep in deposit a sizeable amount in an Indian bank which can be accessed in the case of an accident for an interim relief to the affected people.

In a statement issued here, state CPI secretary D. Pandian said: “Exempting the Russian equipment supplier from being liable for any nuclear accident at KNPP is not acceptable.”

Citing the Bhopal gas tragedy in which several thousand died and were affected, Pandian said the government should stipulate in its contract while negotiating the purchase of reactors that the supplier should pay a sum towards accident liability.

“A negotiated amount should be received in advance and kept in deposit in a bank. In case of any accident, the amount could be accessed immediately for initial relief and the affected people need not go to the courts seeking compensation,” Pandian told IANS.

India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation India Ltd. (NPCIL) is setting up the KNPP at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, with two Russian-made VVER 1,000 MW reactors. The outlay is around Rs.17,120 crore.

The first unit is in advanced stage of commissioning, with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) giving its nod Aug 10 to load 163 of the enriched uranium fuel bundles in the reactor.

The reactors have been supplied by Russia, which has been exempted from the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, in the event of any mishap as the agreement for reactor supplies was signed several years before the legislation was passed by parliament.

NPCIL is planning to set up two more reactors at KNPP and Russia is demanding that these too be exempted from the liability law.

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