NLL: US Official Seeks to Resolve Differences
There is still some way to go for India and the US to reach an understanding on the vexed Nuclear Liability Law(NLL)issue, with visiting US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stating that its resolution had to be in line with the IAEA convention for supplementary compensation.
Moniz held talks on Tuesday with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia as part of the India-US Energy Dialogue, which had been delayed by two months as a result of the fracas over the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khorbragade in New York.
“We need to pick up pace here, the other areas of collaboration have progressed much faster.
“One of the key issues is resolution of the liability convention, to see that India is aligned with the international convention on supplementary compensation, which we expect to come into force this year, resolving this convention is important for all companies, including Indian companies,” the US official told reporters.
Answering a similar query, Ahluwalia noted that it was possible to resolve the issue within the framework of the NLL. “It is relevant not just for the US supplies, but for French and Russian suppliers too.
We have to solve this one way or the other,” he said.
Moniz will leave for Mumbai to attend the meeting of the India-US Working Group on civil nuclear energy.
“The discussions will take place tomorrow (on Wednesday) in Mumbai. We will hear about it then. We have been told by our colleagues in India that ... we can find a way to it in (the framework of) International Liability Convention, which will come into force this year,” he said.
According to the NLL,even the suppliers could be liable to give compensation in case of an accident, which is not part of the IAEA international agreement.
Inclusion of this clause has led to much heartburn among the major nuclear powers, with negotiations under way to find a middle path.
Due to this clause, Russia had escalated the price of KoodankulamIII and IV, for which talks are at a very advanced stage.
In September, NPCIL and Westinghouse signed a preliminary contract for nuclear power project in Gujarat during the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s US visit. But to start operations, a final agreement has still to be inked, which is stuck over the implementation of the NLL.