I agree. It is both landmark and revolutionary. After all...
How often does the government of a country basically open its borders to allow its citizens to (in effect) become guinea pigs for technology that has the potential to destroy entire cities should something go wrong?
Note: The USA has not built a single new nuclear reactor for 3 decades. All of a sudden they want to 'export cutting edge technology' to us? I read: experiment on us. Even if their motives are benign and only limited to the financial gain. It says something that they havent built a reactor within their own borders for 3 decades but want to help us build several dozen.
How often does it basically absolve one of the primary offending parties (foreign suppliers) of any wrongdoing for a paltry maximum liability of Rs 500 cr (approx $110 million) vs $10.5 BILLION in the USA and assume all other liability on "itself"?
Note: To be clear... the bill does not say that the total liability for an accident will be limited to Rs. 500 cr. It just says that any foreign suppliers (who will build the reactor and supply the fuel) will only be liable for Rs 500 cr (approx $110 million ) in damages for basically any kind of accident. The rest will be paid by the operators (NPCIL) i.e. the Government.... i.e. the people of India... i.e. you and me.
Dont get me wrong. I am all for nuclear power. But only if its ensured to be safe and if the parties responsible for accidents will be held liable and pay ADEQUATE reparations. Heck BP spent many times more money cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf than what the government is proposing that a foreign supplier might have to pay if a nuclear plant explodes (exaggeration... hopefully...).
Meh... I bet a lot of money changed hands in Delhi (and elsewhere) that day... but even so... this level of liability for anyone doing anything involving nuclear materials with potential for widespread contamination in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, home to 1/6th of mankind... is a farce...
I would go on about India's poor civil nuclear safety record, but ssh! Lets not scare too many people. If reports by foreign agencies are to be believed.... and even if only 10% of them are true... I would not advocate living anywhere within 200km of the active nuclear reactors in India.
Over to you people.