Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP)

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    Recently, the French company  Electricite de France (EDF) stated that Nuclear liability issues were not resolved for the Jaitapur project.

    About Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP)

    • Indo-French cooperation on the ‘peaceful use of nuclear energy’ was signed in 2008, primarily for building the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP).
    • India has announced plans to construct six 1,650 MW nuclear power plants at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri, which could become the nation’s largest nuclear power site once completed with a 9,900 MW capacity.
    • Importance for India 
    • Nuclear power is clean and environment friendly, apart from having a huge potential to ensure the country’s long-term energy security on a sustainable basis.
    • This project will embody the strong partnership between India and France, a commitment to a low carbon future, and will directly benefit Maharashtra with thousands of local jobs.
      • It would provide electricity to seven crore households. 

    Nuclear liability conventions Across the globe

    • The IAEA serves as a depositary for several international legal instruments on civil liability for nuclear damage, which aim to ensure compensation is available for damage, including transboundary damage, caused by a nuclear incident at a nuclear installation or in the course of transport of nuclear material to or from an installation.
      •  These include the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and the Protocol to amend it, the Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention, and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

    Indian Scenario 

    • The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act came into existence in 2010. 
      • The Act provides for civil liability for nuclear damage and prompt compensation to the victims of a nuclear incident.
      • Features 
        • Compensation to victims through a no-fault regime
        • Exclusive jurisdictional competence and a mechanism to provide compensation
        • Channeling liability to the Operator
        • Limiting liability of the operator in amount and time
        • Mandatory coverage by the operator through financial security or insurance

    Issues 

    • The issue is arising from India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act.
      • The act is considered excessive by foreign companies, which could be liable to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in the event of a nuclear accident. 
      • As a result, despite signing civil nuclear deals with a number of countries, including the U.S., France and Japan, the only foreign presence in India is that of Russia in Kudankulam, projects that predate the Law.
    • India has ratified the international convention on nuclear energy accident liability, which was perceived as a barrier for foreign companies to invest in the country.
    • It is believed that international manufacturers have been reluctant to begin any nuclear project in India because of the country’s domestic liability law which makes all, including equipment suppliers, accountable for any untoward incident. 

    Suggestions  and Way Forward 

    •  In the past, India has taken steps to address the issue of civil nuclear liability.
      •  It released a list of FAQs on “Civil Nuclear Liability” in February 2015 and also launched the India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) in June that year. 
        • INIP is an insurance pool to cover the equipment suppliers’ risk of potential liability.
    • The existing technical, financial, and civil nuclear liability issues need to be resolved at the earliest.
    • Other measures to enhance the generation from nuclear power plants in the country.
      • Accord of administrative approval and financial sanction of – ten (10) indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) to be set up in fleet mode with the provision of equity support.
      • Resolution of issues related to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act & Creation of the Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP).
      • Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects.

    Source:TH