India signs convention in Vienna to facilitate global nuke commerce

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New Delhi/Vienna, Oct. 28 (ANI): India has signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, which will allow it to do nuclear commerce for clean energy production.

The signing of the CSC on Wednesday comes days before US President Barack Obama undertakes a four-day visit of India next month.

It was signed by India's Ambassador to Austria and its Permanent Representative to the IAEA, Dinkar Khullar, and is clearly aimed at allaying American nuclear firms concerns on the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill that was recently passed by the Indian Parliament.

The convention provides for compensation in case of trans-national implications of a nuclear accident.

It also provides for the establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a State's exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries related income.

The United States has welcomed the signing of the CSC convention by India, saying it would help promote trade between the two countries.

The signing of the CSC takes place after India held informal consultations with the IAEA and sorted out all technical issues.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is believed to have given the go-ahead for signing it from Tokyo on Monday and formal instructions were issued to the Indian mission in Vienna yesterday.

The convention was adopted in September 1997 and opened for signature at Vienna a few days later at the 41st General Conference of the IAEA.

Upon entry into force, the convention would establish a uniform global regime for compensation to victims in the event of a nuclear accident.

The CSC provides for the establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a state's exclusive economic zone, including the loss of tourism and fisheries-related income.

It also sets parameters on a nuclear operator's financial liability, time limits governing possible legal action, requires that nuclear operators maintain insurance or other financial security measures and provides for a single competent court to hear claims.

The IAEA says all states are free to participate in the convention regardless of their involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions or the presence of nuclear installations on their territories. (ANI)

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