The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would alloww corporations to sue governments

free-tradeEnergy market madness is the death spasm of the oil age – renewables now! Ecologist  Nafeez Ahmed 4th February 2015 “……..the widely criticized TTIP proposal – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – as being a positive force for economies and the renewable energy sector.

The fundamental problem with TTIP, a so-called free trade agreement being negotiated in secret by US and European governments, is that by aiming to reduce regulatory barriers to trade for big business, the agreement aims to fundamentally erode the power of elected governments to enact legislation on food safety, environmental protection, banking and finance, that would in some way undermine corporations from rampaging across the US and EU without concern for people or planet.

One of the most obvious counter-democratic components of TTIP is its aim to introduceInvestor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which would effectively allow corporations to sue governments if their policies cause a loss of profits.

February 7, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Will USA nuclear companies really be able to sell their reactors to India?

flag-indiaFlag-USAIs the India nuclear agreement really the ‘breakthrough’ Obama promised? WP, By Annie Gowen and Steven Mufson February 4 NEW DELHI — President Obama stood alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India’s capital just days ago and announced a “breakthrough understanding” that the two countries hoped would pave the way for U.S. firms to sell nuclear reactors to India.

But analysts and experts familiar with the negotiations say that the legal issues remain so complex that private U.S. companies may continue to shy away from new deals in India, despite the developing country’s fast-growing and dire power needs.

So far, the details of the agreement have been sketchy at best……….

Buy-US-nukesAnalysts say the real test will be whether the two U.S.-Japanese companies sign commercial contracts with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India……..

The key issue will be whether the conflict between international and Indian law can be waved away by a memorandum from India’s attorney general. The memorandum would have to say that the 2010 liability law “doesn’t mean what it says,” said a Washington lawyer familiar with the issues, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his professional relationships.

A second obstacle has been the requirement in the Hyde Act of 2006 that the Indian government and an independent auditor annually provide information about the form, amounts and location of any uranium supplied to India to make sure it is not diverted for military use……..

India is a special case — and nonproliferation experts have special concerns about it. India’s first nuclear reactor dates to 1956; the country has 21 reactors at seven power plant sites.

The United States and Canada withdrew support for the nuclear program after the country exploded a nuclear device in 1974, and the United States and Japan imposed sanctions after the 1998 tests.

Members of Congress will want to be sure that India cannot skirt the Bush-era legislation and did not simply wear down American negotiators to achieve the present agreement………

Even if the thorny details of the liability question are worked out — a big “if,” analysts say — American companies still face the political realities of India. Although the government concedes that nuclear power must remain part of the country’s energy mix, particularly to counter rising greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power plants remain unpopular with local residents, and acquiring land to build plants can take years.

In the end, said M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian ambassador who is now an analyst, the “breakthrough” touted by Obama and Modi may end up being more of a diplomatic success than a commercial breakthrough………

February 6, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iranium President Rouhani optimistic about a nuclear deal with the West

RouhaniIranian president says nuclear deal with the west is getting closer, Guardian,  and , 4 Feb 15  Mehr news agency quotes Hassan Rouhani saying sides have ‘narrowed the gaps’ as second report emerges of uranium enrichment deal with US. President Hassan Rouhani has said that a nuclear deal with the west is getting closer, as a report emerged of a possible compromise between American and Iranian negotiators over uranium enrichment.

After meeting the heads of the country’s parliament and judiciary, Rouhani was quoted by the Mehr news agency as saying: “We have narrowed the gaps,” adding that although “some issues and differences remain … The west has realised that it should recognise the rights of the Iranian people.”

Even Ali Larijani, the parliamentary speaker and a noted hardliner on nuclear talks, declared himself “not pessimistic” about the trajectory of the negotiations.

Nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers are due to resume later this month in Geneva ahead of a March deadline for arriving at a basic framework agreement. A comprehensive permanent settlement would be reached by the end of June………

The possible compromise under consideration, according to the AP, would see most of the 10,000 centrifuges in operation left in place but reconfigured so that they would be less productive. One way of doing that would be to spin the centrifuges more slowly. Other measures would be agreed upon to reassure the west that Iran could not make a warhead quickly, such as reducing its stockpile of uranium hexafluoride gas – the form in which uranium can be enriched by centrifuge………

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Indian government rolls over to accomodate US nuclear corporations, US military strategy

Modi,-Narendra-USAObama’s visit and the much-hyped nuclear deal, DNA Tuesday, 3 February 2015 Exploiting fully the servile attitude of this Modi government, being offered on a platter, US President Barack Obama, on his recent State visit to India as the guest of our 66thRepublic Day Parade, got what he wanted from India to rejuvenate the beleaguered US economy.

The Left parties opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal and the subsequent developments which led to the withdrawal of the support from the UPA-I government were based on very serious apprehensions concerning the consequences of this deal. These relate to pressures to transform the Indian independent foreign policy positions towards those of a subordinate US ally; forcing India to further open up its economy to the profit maximisation of US corporations and India being drawn into USA’s strategic and military network as a steadfast accomplice.

The Modi government has reportedly gone ahead to permit the circumvention of US manufactured nuclear reactors’ liability in the case of a nuclear accident. Reports indicate that Section 17(b) of the Act will be interpreted in the Rules to enable the Indian State-owned insurance corporations to offer a cover of Rs750 crores to cover supplier’s liability, while a government back-up will extend this to Rs1,500 crores. India will pay the premium for such an insurance policy to the foreign suppliers. ……

February 4, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

If USA nuclear reactors have accidents in India – Indian tax-payers pay: US corporations scot-free!

fleecing-taxpayer-1flag-indiaGood News! US Corporations Won’t Have to Pay for Nuclear Disasters in India, FAIR, 

By   , 27 Jan 15   “……Not only is it a “breakthrough understanding,” it’s also going to be “freeing up” investment. In these word choices, USA Today is saying it wants you to know that this is good news.

But what is the news? Here’s how the paper’s Mandakini Gahlot summarizes the agreement:

Picking up from a stalled 2008 civil nuclear agreement between the two countries, the deal would allow US firms to invest in energy in India. It also resolves a dispute over US insistence on tracking fissile material it supplies to the country and over Indian liability provisions that have discouraged US firms from capitalizing on the agreement.”……

These corporations–who have the political backing of the US government–have succeeded in getting international conventions to agree that “no one other than operators can be held responsible” in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. The suppliers want assurances that these international conventions, and not Indian law, will be applied in the wake of such an event.

The “breakthrough” between Obama and Modi seems to be an agreement that the law will be “tweaked” to let US corporations off the hook in case of a devastating accident. For example, suppliers of nuclear equipment could be redefined as “contractors” and therefore not be liable under Indian law.

Of course, if USA Today explained that Obama had gotten the Indian prime minister to find a loophole that would allow US corporations to avoid having to compensate victims of nuclear disasters that they contributed to, that would be harder to present  as a “good news!” story.

February 2, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, India, politics international | Leave a comment

Indian Citizens’ Statement against Capitulation to the US on Nuclear Liability

india-antinuke Kumar Sundaram

We are deeply disturbed by media reports that the Indian government has capitulated to aggressive U.S. demands and agreed to a deal that indemnifies American nuclear vendors from the consequences of accidents caused by design defects in their reactors.

Preliminary reports suggest that the government has agreed to create an insurance pool, backed by public sector companies, so that any potential American liability can be redirected back to Indian taxpayers. This creates a “moral hazard”, where the Indian people could end up being responsible for mistakes made by a multinational corporation.

The 2010 Indian liability Act is already a weak law heavily biased towards the nuclear industry. It caps the total liability for an accident at a paltry Rs 1,500 crores and takes away the rights of victims to sue the supplier. The much-discussed supplier liability is very limited: the government alone, as the operator, has a right of recourse against the vendor.

So, we fail to understand the Modi government’s motivation for weakening this law even further. The U.S. has nothing attractive to offer in terms of nuclear commerce. The Indian government has agreed to purchase the AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse, and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) from General Electric. Both these designs are untested. The ESBWR technology is so immature that the design received certification from the U.S. nuclear regulatory commission—the first step before a reactor can be constructed—only last September. Recent reports suggest that construction of AP1000 units has run into trouble in China.

Independent estimates suggest that the cost of electricity from these reactors may exceed Rs. 15 per unit. This is much higher than the tariff from competing sources of electricity.

Therefore, the reality behind the grandiose proclamations made by the Indian government is rather sobering. India has agreed to pay billions of dollars for immature American technology, and then ensured that American companies will not be held to account for any design defects.

We hope that progressive forces and concerned citizens throughout the country will unite to oppose this disturbing development.

Signatures: Continue reading

January 31, 2015 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear, politics international | Leave a comment

Danger for India in weakening Liability law, and no benefit to India in USA nuclear deal

The most baffling feature of the current agreement is that it holds no tangible benefits for India. The United States has offered to sell two reactor designs — both of which are expensive and untested.

india-antinukeLast week, the residents of Mithi Virdi wrote an open letter to Mr. Obama and Mr. Modi reminding them that the “gram panchayats of four most-affected villages … [have] passed a resolution declaring the entire … region as [a] nuclear free zone.” The leaders of the “world’s largest democracies” face a clear choice. They can channel billions of dollars into nuclear corporations by sacrificing safety and economic prudence. Or they can heed the democratic voices from Mithi Virdi and cancel these unnecessary deals.

highly-recommendedNuclear deal no cause for celebration  THE HINDU, SUVRAT RAJUM. V. RAMANA 31 Jan 15  Any understanding between Narendra Modi and Barack Obama on circumventing the Indian nuclear liability law to protect American reactor suppliers should be a matter of concern

At their recent meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama discussed methods of circumventing the Indian nuclear liability law to protect American reactor suppliers from the consequences of accidents caused by design defects. Although public details are scarce, if they have indeed reached an understanding on the issue, then this is not a cause for celebration; it should be a matter of deep concern.

The importance of supplier liability is illustrated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. When the reactors were hit by the tsunami that year, the weakness of the General Electric (GE) Mark I design was cruelly exposed. The reactors’ inadequate containment was unable to prevent the spread of radioactivity when the cooling systems failed and pressure built up inside the reactors. Although this design defect was first noted about 40 years ago, just as the Fukushima reactors were commissioned, the industry resisted regulatory changes that could have ameliorated the disaster.

Framework of impunity

The Japan Center for Economic Research estimated that the cost of cleanup at Fukushima may reach $200 billion. A 2013 expert study “Accounting for long-term doses in worldwide health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident” published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science estimated that the disaster may lead to about a thousand excess deaths due to cancer. However, it is unlikely that GE will ever be held accountable for its poor design choice. Under Japanese law, the supplier is indemnified from liability for an accident. This is the framework of impunity under which nuclear suppliers like to operate.

Legal indemnity for suppliers creates a “moral hazard”— encouraging suppliers to take excessive risks since they don’t have to pay for the consequences. The case of GE not strengthening the Mark I containment is not an exception. Continue reading

January 31, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

Diplomatic incident, as Russian nuclear bomber planes fly off west coast of Ireland

Russian nuclear bomber planes fly off west coast of Ireland as British Typhoon fighters scrambled, Irish Independent  Brian O’Reilly and Philip Ryan 30/01/2015 RUSSIAN bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew past the west coast of Ireland on Wednesday – forcing Britain to scramble Typhoon fighter jets in response. A diplomatic incident was sparked when Russian Tu-95 ‘Bear’ bomber planes flew past the west coast of Ireland and into the English Channel before turning and going back the same way.

It was reported that the heavily armed aircraft were flying without their transponders – meaning they were invisible to commercial airlines.

Britain scrambled its fighter jets in response – as Ireland is considered to be within its ‘area of interest’ for defence.

The Russian Embassy in Ireland issued a robust defence of the country’s decision to fly bomber jets near Irish airspace.

However the Department of Defence said while the Russian aircraft did not enter Irish sovereign airspace at any time, such non-notified and non-controlled flight activity is not acceptable.

“The Irish authorities will discuss with their UK counterparts how best to seek to resolve this through the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” it said……

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Ireland, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Many a slip twixt the much touted USA-India deal and commercial reality

Hurdles Remain in Nuclear Deal, Indian Express  By B B Singh 30th January 2015  For almost two weeks prior to president Barack Obama’s visit to India, the negotiators from both the countries had been burning the midnight oil to operationalise Indo-US nuclear cooperation but hurdles seem to be emerging one after another. The first and the most talked about hurdle arose from Section 17 (b) of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, giving the right of recourse to the operator of the nuclear installation if nuclear incident resulted as a consequence of an act of the supplier or his employee which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services.

This provision was introduced to ensure that the suppliers took utmost care since they would be liable even for “latent” defects that may exhibit their appearance in their equipment later on after extended exposure to nuclear related stresses. This problem seems to have been solved by India’s proposal for an insurance cover of `1500 crore out of which 50 per cent would be government contribution and the remaining from a pool of insurance companies which are public sector units.

Oddly, it would mean victims compensating victims.

The next conflict has arisen in respect of Section 46 of the Act which provides that its provisions shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other law for the time being in force. It further provides that nothing contained in this Act shall exempt the operator from any proceeding which might, apart from this Act, be instituted against such operator or the suppliers directly or through the operator. The victims of nuclear incidents are thus entitled to file tort suits for unlimited damages and even criminal proceedings against the operator as well as suppliers. ………….

The story does not end here. There is still some more to come. Under the Hyde Act, the US president is further required to submit to an appropriate Congressional committee any significant changes in the nuclear activities of India including construction of nuclear facilities, production of nuclear weapons or changes in nature and amount of fissile material produced and the purpose and operational status of any unsafeguarded new nuclear facility.

Still further under the Hyde Act, the US president shall have to inform the Congress an estimate of the amount of uranium mined and milled in India and amount of such uranium that has likely been used or allocated for weapons; the rate of production of nuclear devices and the material used therein. Some procedure will have to be worked out in the administrative arrangements to achieve this objective and procure such information on India’s non-civilian nuclear activities for information to the US Congress. In view of these requirements, the Indian negotiators are likely to face still tougher uphill tasks ahead.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, India, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

If it ever becomes a reality, USA-India nuclear deal a very bad one for Indian public

Financially, solar and wind energy are already becoming more attractive than nuclear. Electricity from these renewable sources cost Rs 8 and Rs 4.5 per unit respectively,according to a report by solar think-tank Bridge to India. Renewables are quicker to erect and are not as politically contentious as nuclear. In contrast, the Mithi Virdi project has run into serious opposition from local residents and farmers. If it is ever built, electricity from the Westinghouse reactors will cost Rs 12 per unit.

Buy-US-nukesflag-indiaThe ‘breakthrough’ in Indo-US nuclear deal will bleed Indians every which way, Scroll In,
 The taxpayer will be made to pay to cover US companies’ untested technologies and the expensive electricity they generate. Nityanand Jayaraman, 29 Jan 15 

“………If American corporations are sufficiently convinced to follow through and supply nuclear power plants to India, the common man (and woman) – namely, Indian taxpayers, electricity consumers and communities that host the plants – may well get the wrong end of the stick……….
Scrapping even limited liability Indian law – CLNDA – is already weak. But American and Indian private equipment suppliers – like Westinghouse, L&T, JSW Steel and Tata Power – feel it is not weak enough. Continue reading

January 30, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

India-USA nuclear deal very ‘up in the air': no document signed

no specific document was signed

India is already generating more power from wind turbines alone than from nuclear power and has announced a solar target of 100 gigawatt by 2022. So it is perfectly coherent that the joint US-India declaration contains one paragraph on nuclear cooperation and eight on clean energy.

Flag-USAflag-indiaBreakthrough in US-India civil nuclear deal ‘more symbolism than reality’, DW 29 Jan 15 The US and India announced a “breakthrough” in resolving a liability spat that has stalled the implementation of a civil nuclear deal. But Mycle Schneider tells DW this is more about geopolitics than industrial reality.

“…….Mycle Schneider, an independent international consultant on energy and nuclear policy, says in a DW interview that there is no real market for foreign nuclear companies in India, unless they bring their own funding, adding that the recent announcement is more about presenting both countries as equal partners than it is about the vision of a future blooming Indian nuclear export industry.

DW: What exactly does the new nuclear deal entail?

Mycle Schneider: Very little has so far been published about it. First of all, it is unclear whether there is even a “new nuclear deal.” Usually, when heads of state meet, the occasion is used to sign agreements. However, on this issue, the US-India joint statement only says President Obama and Prime Minister Modi welcomed the “understandings reached” on the issues of civil nuclear liability and “administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation.”

Apparently, no specific document was signed. ………

Unlike all other aspirants for nuclear technology aid, India is not required anymore to put its entire fuel chain, facilities and materials, under comprehensive international control or so-called Full-Scope Safeguards. India has merely promised to separate its nuclear weapons related activities from the power sector……….

India law created liabilities for suppliers in the event of a nuclear accident. Are they not liable anymore?

The 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act has been voted by both houses of the Indian parliament. It remains in place as long as it has not been invalidated by a new vote. In that respect, absolutely nothing has changed from the situation prior to President Obama’s visit to India.

Considering the fact that the Act has not only been attacked by the nuclear industry side, but also from civil society representatives because it caps the liability of the nuclear operators to a ridiculously small sum of 240 million USD, reopening the parliamentary debate over this fragile compromise seems unlikely at this point. It also seems unlikely that the establishment of an insurance fund would fundamentally change the liability situation of nuclear suppliers.

What do India and the US expect to gain from this civil nuclear deal?

This is a typical example of announcement politics. Both governments are presenting the outcome of the US-India summit as a great success. But it is more an issue of symbolism and geopolitics than of industrial reality. The promise to continue to work together towards India’s “phased entry” into the Nuclear Suppliers Group as into three other international control regimes is more about presenting both countries as equal partners than it is about the vision of a future blooming Indian nuclear export industry.

Do you expect the Indian market to now become more appealing for US nuclear companies?

In reality, there is no real market for foreign nuclear companies in India, unless they bring their own funding. Under free market conditions it is not possible anymore to build a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world.

So if new reactors are built in India or elsewhere, the projects are highly subsidized, either by the government—the taxpayer—or the ratepayer. The Indian nuclear industry has painted a rosy picture of the nuclear future for decades and has delivered very little in comparison.

It is actually amazing to what extent overstretched projections of “hundreds of billions investment” are still being held up. Disconnected from reality, they are an effect of what Princeton University researcher M.V. Ramana has appropriately described as “The Power of Promise.”

India is already generating more power from wind turbines alone than from nuclear power and has announced a solar target of 100 gigawatt by 2022. So it is perfectly coherent that the joint US-India declaration contains one paragraph on nuclear cooperation and eight on clean energy.

Mycle Schneider is an independent international energy and nuclear policy consultant, based in Paris. He is the convening lead author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report and a member of the Princeton University-based International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM). Schneider is a founding member and the spokesperson of the International Energy Advisory Council (IEAC).

The interview was conducted by Gabriel Domínguez.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

A negotiated settlement is the only solution for the Ukraine crisis

Seven reasons the US shouldn’t help Ukraine’s fight with Russia MIA ΔΙΑΦΟΡΕΤΙΚΗ ΑΠΟΨΗ By  1/29/15 
As I pointed out on, “Only a negotiated settlement, no matter how unsatisfying, offers a possible resolution of the conflict. The alternative may be the collapse of the Ukrainian state and long-term confrontation between the West and Russia.”
Ukraine’s most fervent advocates assume anyone not ready to commit self-immolation on Kiev’s behalf must be a Russian agent. However, there are numerous good reasons for Washington to avoid the fight.
1) Russia isn’t Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.
While the Obama administration has resisted proposals for military confrontation with Moscow, a gaggle of ivory tower warriors has pushed to arm Ukraine, bring Kiev into NATO and station U.S. men and planes in Ukraine. These steps could lead to war.
Americans have come to expect easy victories. However, Russia would be no pushover. In particular, Moscow has a full range of nuclear weapons, which it could use to respond to allied conventional superiority.
2) Moscow has more at stake than the West in Ukraine.
Ukraine matters far more to Moscow than to Washington. Thus, the former will devote far greater resources and take far greater risks than the allies will. The Putin government already has accepted financial losses, economic isolation, human casualties and political hostility.
3) Alliances should enhance U.S. security, not provide foreign charity.
It’s impossible to blame Ukraine for wanting the West to protect it. But it makes no sense for the allies to do so. Adding Ukraine to NATO would dramatically degrade U.S. security by transforming a minor conflict irrelevant to Washington into a military dispute between America and Russia.
4) Security guarantees and alliance commitments often spread rather than deter conflict.
NATO advocates presume that membership would dissuade Russia from taking military action. Alas, deterrence often fails. In World War I alliances become transmission belts of war.
5) U.S. foreign policy should be based on the interest of America, not other nations.
The greatest distortion to U.S. foreign policy may come from ethnic lobbying. There’s nothing wrong with having affection for one’s ancestral homeland, like Ukraine. But U.S. foreign policy should be designed to benefit America, not other nations.
Some advocates for Kiev argue that Ukraine deserves support since France helped the American colonists win their independence. But France intervened in the American Revolution because Paris believed it was in France’s interest to weaken Britain. Going to war with Moscow would offer Americans no similar benefit.
6) It’s Europe’s turn to act.
If Ukraine matters geopolitically, it is to Europe. But most NATO members continue to shrink their militaries. It is time Europe did the military heavy lifting.
7) A negotiated settlement is the only solution.
Unfortunately, weaker parties often must make accommodations. During the Cold War, Finland maintained its domestic liberties by not antagonizing the Soviet Union.
The world is similarly unfair to Ukraine today. Military victory is unlikely. Stalemate threatens Ukraine with economic crisis.
The allies hope that sanctions will force Russia to concede. But Vladimir Putin won’t retreat voluntarily.
Massive public discontent could spark a popular revolution. However, foreign penalties more often cause people to rally around their governments. As of last month, Putin’s popularity was at 85 percent.
Moreover, the prospect of Weimar Russia should cause Ukrainians and their friends in the West to be careful what they wish for. A Russia in crisis likely would not be democratic and docile.
Moscow could say no. If so, it is better to find out now than to do so only after suffering through an extended Cold War lite.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict is an unnecessary tragedy. Thankfully, the ongoing battle doesn’t much threaten America. However, the only ending in something other than disaster is likely to come through negotiation. Instead of acting as a belligerent party, Washington should focus on shaping a diplomatic solution.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | 1 Comment

USA persuades India to weaken its nuclear liability law – double standards here

Under pressure from GE and Westinghouse, the two American nuclear vendors hoping to sell billions of dollars worth of reactors to India, the Obama administration has demanded that Section 17(b) and Section 46 of the Indian liability law be deleted or amended.

Double standards? The irony is that American nuclear suppliers operate under a domestic liability regime that allows operators to sue them for recovery of damages in the event of an accident. That is how Metropolitan Edison, the operator of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, sued Babcock Wilcox after the infamous 1979 accident.

Modi,-Narendra-USAWhy India should say no to US demand to dilute its nuclear liability law
 The Modi government should resist pressure from Barack Obama, who landed in New Delhi on Sunday morning, to change key provisions to favour foreign supplier of reactors. Siddharth Varadarajan  26 Jan 15 

With the issue of nuclear liability emerging as an obstacle in the relationship between India and the US, the Modi government is under pressure to dilute the law in favour of foreign reactor suppliers. Without this, we are told, it will not be possible to operationalise the US-India nuclear agreement and provide the country with the electricity its people need.

In the event of a major nuclear accident in India, one which damages lives and property, what does the law say about how liability is to be apportioned? Continue reading

January 26, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Details remain vague on nuclear deal between Obam and Narendra Modi

Obama and Modi agree to limit US liability in case of nuclear disaster, Guardian,  in Delhi @RobertsDan 26 Jan 15 Decision set to lead to contracts worth billions of dollars but hopes for a US-China-style air pollution deal are dashed. US industrial interests took centre-stage at the start of Barack Obama’s visit to India as he and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, outlined a deal to limit the legal liability of US suppliers in the event of a nuclear power plant catastrophe.

Thirty years after an infamous chemical leak killed thousands at Union Carbide’s factory in Bhopal, the threat of tough Indian compensation laws has frustrated US hopes of an export boom in the energy sector – despite an agreement by former US president George W Bush to share civil nuclear technology in 2005.

After pressure from US diplomats, the Indian government was thought to have agreed a state-backed insurance scheme that would cap the exposure of nuclear suppliers and open the door to billions of dollars of new contracts. India will also allow closer tracking of spent fuel to limit the risk of it falling into terrorist hands.

“Today we achieved a breakthrough understanding on two issues that were holding up our civil nuclear cooperation,” Obama said on Sunday………

Details of the deal remain vague, however, and officials stressed they were still working out the finer arrangements of the scheme, which is designed to avoid the need to change Indian law……….

The two governments also said they had struck deals to share defence technology and improve dialogue in future, with a security hotline between Obama and Modi……….

“Nuclear liability remains the cinder in the eye of the relationship right now,” Rick Rossow, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said in Washington last week. “Nuclear cooperation was the high-water mark for our bilateral history and the fact that India’s nuclear liability law precludes American involvement, it stings.”

US suggestions of full legal indemnity for suppliers were knocked by the Indian government, which is wary of trying to overturn a 2010 nuclear liability law in parliament…….

January 26, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

US Republicans out to destroy nuclear talks with Iran

fight Iran Sanctions Supporters Don’t Want To Improve Nuclear Talks. They Want To Destroy Them. 
Huffington Post  01/23/2015 WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared to have pulled off a masterful political victory against the Obama administration Wednesday when he revealed that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the dangers of the administration’s negotiations with Iran.Coming a day after President Barack Obama threatened to veto new Iran-related sanctions legislation that he said could harm the negotiations, Boehner’s move looked like a smart way to reinforce support for such bills — a priority for the Republican-led Congress — by showing that the U.S.’s top ally in the region supported them.

Then things started to fall apart.………

Kerry’s comment altered the conversation, making it about whether Republicans want to torpedo nuclear talks with Iran. The Obama administration describes the negotiations as the only way to ensure that Iran cannot gain a nuclear weapon to threaten the very country Boehner says the administration is failing: Israel. Kerry’s message: It’s Republicans, and the Democrats who support them on new sanctions, who would fail Israel by antagonizing Iran and destroying the chance of a peaceful resolution to the years-long controversy over Tehran’s nuclear program……….

the story had shifted as Kerry boxed the Republicans into admitting their possible true intentions — and all Boehner was left with was a promise for a Netanyahu address at the time of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in early March, by which point the administration has said it hoped to already have a framework for the deal.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu got his own rebuke as the White House revealed that it would not meet with him during that March trip. “We do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

Ryan Grim and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.

This article has been updated to include comments from M

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment


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