nuclear laws

 The world was a better place before 6th August 1945, when the world first saw the power of the atomic energy. After this point in history the world had changed towards something worse and could never go back. Such power in the hands of men could mean two things, absolute destruction or a new renewable source of energy to feed the planets needs. But such power in the hands of a emotional species has always been controversial. It means weapons of mass destruction but on the other hand it also provides with a massive energy source.  You would think people would be smart enough to realise the threat it holds to the survival of the entire planet but in most cases nations only care about their own interests and protection. There had been many attempts by world peace organisations to work towards de-nuclearizing the countries but to no success. So as a last measure there had to be laws international and domestic to regulate the use of nuclear energy and keep a close watch on a countries nuclear activities. In this article we’ll be looking into the Nuclear Damage Act 2010 and the Atomic Energy Act 1962.

    The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 or Nuclear Liability Act is a highly debated and controversial Act which was passed by both houses of Indian parliament. The Act aims to provide a civil liability for nuclear damage and prompt compensation to the victims of a nuclear incident through a nofault liability to the operator, appointment of Claims Commissioner, establishment of Nuclear Damage Claims Commission and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

    This is one of the last steps needed to activate the 2008 Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement as the United States nuclear reactor manufacturing companies will require the liability bill to get insurance in their home state. The government has encountered fierce opposition when trying to push this bill through parliament on several occasions. This is because it contains several controversial clauses that the opposition parties claim to be ‘unconstitutional’. The opposition believes the bill is being pushed through due to US pressure though this is denied by the government. 

    The Act effectively caps the maximum amount of liability in case of each nuclear accident at ₹15 billion (US$200 million) to be paid by the operator of the nuclear plant, and if the cost of the damages exceeds this amount, special drawing rights up to 300 million will be paid by the Central Government. The Act made amendments in the Atomic Energy Act 1962 allowing private investment in the Indian nuclear power program. The issue of an accident is sensitive in India, where a gas leak in a US company’s Union Carbide factory in Bhopal city killed about 20,000 people in 1984 in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. The Act came into force from 11 November 2011.

    Advances in nuclear technology have significantly reduced the probability of a nuclear catastrophe and is considered an environment friendly and sustainable source of energy. However, it is still necessary to keep in mind the negative aspects of the nuclear energy and measures must be taken for its peaceful use. However the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster have created once again a debate in India and the world over over the destructive nature of nuclear energy.


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