India's Nuclear Liability Bill & Willful Intent May Cause Accidents
Is it possible to cause an accident with willful intent? We have to ask the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, about how it is possible.
An accident is called so because it occurred without any willful intent. If there is a willful intent, the incident occurred by such intent cannot be called "accident." But our so called "left-of-the-center" UPA-2 government is trying to make such an impossible thing possible through the promulgation of "Civil Nuclear Damage Liability Bill." The bill is intended to limit the liability payable when nuclear accident occurs to just $100 million.
The bill formulated by the government doesn’t originally place any liability on companies that supply nuclear reactors to India. Only operator of the nuclear reactors i.e. Indian government has to meet the damages that would occur due to accidents. Bill says the accidents may occur, “as a consequence of latent or patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services.” So even if accidents occur due to supply of defective, substandard and patent defect reactors, the supplier is not supposed to meet the compensation. As one Indian scientist said the Nuclear Liability Bill is the prime minister's gift to the US. Because major part of 40,000 megawatt of nuclear electricity is supposed to be produced over the period from 2015 to 2035 from Light Water Reactors supplied by the U.S.-based General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, the latter being the subsidiary of Japan based Toshiba company.
After noisy protests and lot of furor by the opposition parties in the parliament, the cabinet made some amendments to the bill after the suggestions of parliamentary panel that included representatives from opposition parties. The compensation amount is tripled to $320 million and, “The operator will also sign a contract which will hold suppliers liable if any accident is caused by defective equipment.” But this is diluted by placing a single word i.e. "and" between two clauses that triggered protests from the opposition. The cabinet met again and decided to remove the disputed word ‘and’. Everyone is supposed to be satisfied with new amended bill approved by the cabinet.Continued on the next page