The Indian Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010: legislation with flaws?

Norbert Pelzer

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    1. India has had no special legislation so far about liability under civil law for nuclear damage. Instead, the general law about damages outside of contractual provisions applied.

    2. The ambitious Indian civil nuclear program requires intensified international cooperation. The potential partners in that cooperation demand that liability regulations be adopted on the basis of the principles of the international nuclear liability conventions so as to grant legal assurance to their export industries.

    3. In May 2010, draft liability legislation was introduced into the Indian parliament. Final deliberations were held on August 30, 2010. On September 21, 2010, the President confirmed the draft legislation, thereby making it law. The draft legislation had been a matter of dispute in India from the outset.

    4. The law applies to nuclear facilities owned or controlled by the Indian central government. Only the government or government institutions or state-owned companies can be owners of a nuclear facility. The owner is liable without fault having to be proven. The details of liability follow the provisions of the liability conventions.

    5. The law provides for legal channelling of liability to the owner of a nuclear facility.

    6. Regular courts of law have no competence to rule about claims for damages under the law. Instead, a "Claims Commissioner" appointed ad hoc by the government, or a "Nuclear Claims Commission," are competent.

    7. The 2010 Indian nuclear liability law is a piece of legislation with deficiencies. Key elements are incompatible with the principles of international nuclear liability regimes.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalATW-International Journal for Nuclear Power
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

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