Dr. Tabrez Ahmad
Professor of Law
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 1
1. Laws and regulatory frameworks for safety and
energy policy matters
2. Issues of ongoing struggle of legal processes to come
to terms with nuclear aspirations, nuclear fears and
some semblance of reality
3. International-USA Scenario
4. Indian Scenario
5. Concept of Liability
6. Nuclear Liability
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 2
Primary Federal Legal Structure for Nuclear
Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as amended
Fundamental organizational framework and statutory
Energy Reorganization Act of 1974
Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978
Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 3
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Formerly Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
State utility regulatory commissions (PUC, PSC, PSB)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 4
Functions of the NRC
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 5
Research Appeals Board
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954
Allowed private companies to own and operate nuclear
Licensing by AEC
Standards “adequate protection” or “no unacceptable
Duty both to promote and to regulate
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 6
1957 Amendments to the AEA
Price-Anderson liability limits;
Preemption of states from health and safety
Right of the public to extensive hearings and
information access in reactor licensing proceedings.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 7
1974 Energy Reorganization Act
Broke up the Atomic Energy Commission;
Terminated the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy
Revived effective Congressional oversight of nuclear
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 8
Issue #1: The New Licensing Process
The Mythology: The old licensing process was a major
factor in the collapse of nuclear power in the U.S.
It has now been repaired by changes in law and
regulatory policy, paving the way for the renaissance.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 9
The Operating Experience Gap
By 1970, the U.S. industry had 4.2 GW operating and
72 GW on order.
And the AEC was forecasting 1000 plants (GW) by the
The smallest plant on order was more than twice the
size of the largest plant in operation.
Absence of standardization, in contrast to France and
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 10
Issue #1: The U.S. Licensing Process, cont’d.
The U.S. licensing process led to the building of more nuclear
plants than the next four countries combined as of 1980 (and issued
construction permits for twice as many as were built);
AEC/NRC never turned down a power plant application;
U.S. total still almost equals France and Japan combined.
Plants were built while hearings continued.
The real villains in the cost escalation story:
Operating experience (including Three Mile Island)
Slowing of demand growth leading utilities to slow construction
Falling fossil fuel prices
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 11
NRC “TMI Action Plan” Illustrating the Regulatory
Reaction to Adverse Experience
Significant modifications of requirements as to
Control room design and instrumentation;
Single administrator in emergencies (so no transcript).
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 12
Issue #1: The Reformed U.S. Licensing
Today’s licensing process
Combines CP & OL
Drastically limits scope of public involvement
Areva plant in Finland
First advanced (EPR) plant built in a liberalized
License issued in February, 2005;
By December 2006 project was 18 months behind and
approximately $1 billion over budget
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 13
The 15 Wedges (Scientific American, 9/06)
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 14
Issue #2: Resource Selection
A state responsibility, conditioned by PURPA and
the 1982 California Supreme Court decision;
Cost recovery is through markets, not rate base;
No new nuclear plants have been bid;
Deregulation is not what has happened;
Cost caps and competitive bidding screens;
Some states prohibit new nuclear plants.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 15
A Market Oddity
Power from existing units “costs” about 1.5 cents/kwh
in markets that pay 5+ cents;
But power from new plants may cost 8-11 cents/kwh
(per recent Keystone Center report).
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 16
U.S. Nuclear Output and Nuclear Capacity, 1973-2005: Productivity
Improvement in the Face of Competition
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 17
Setting Regulated Rates the Old Fashioned
RR = E + r(I - D)
RR = Required Revenue
E = Operating Expenses
r = Return on Investment
I = Amount of investment
D = Depreciation
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 18
Lessons of the 1970s, Now Being Studiously
1) Markets adjusted for externalities are smarter than
2) Who bears risks of runaway costs?
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 19
customers investors taxpayers
Energy Policy Act of 2005
Loan guarantees up to 80% of project costs, shifts risk and
therefore lowers cost of capital (but not of project)
Production tax credit (1.8 cents/kwh for 6000mw)
Delay insurance ($500 million for 2 plants, 250 million for
Licensing cost sharing
EPAct05 shifts costs/risks. It does not lower them.
Plants built this way are not a “renaissance”.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 20
Retreat from Market Principles in Some
Abrogate competitive bidding requirements;
Charging plants to customers before completion.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 21
Nuclear Has Received Bulk of Federal R&D
Support (Earth Track05)
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 22
Federal Energy R&D, 1950-1993
Federal Energy R&D, 1998-2005
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Issue #3: Nonproliferation
India’s 10-15kt “peace bomb” of May, 1974
Pakistan declared that it would develop a nuclear
explosive “if we have to eat grass”.
US efforts to deny use of US heavy water;
In contrast to Canadian cut-off
Ford/Carter reassessment of reprocessing and
Passage of the U.S. Nonproliferation Act of 1978
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 24
The NNPA of 1978
NRC approval of exports only if
Assurance against use in explosives
Adequate physical security
Approval over retransfer
Approval over reprocessing
“Full scope” safeguards
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 25
GNEP reverses U.S. position on reprocessing while
doing nothing to strengthen the IAEA.
Arrangement with India required modifying of NNPA
to eliminate full scope safeguards requirements for a
Implications for Iranian situation
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 26
Issue #4: Yucca Mountain
“Waste confidence” as a basis for reactor licensing;
Role of the EPA standard:
There is no EPA standard
There is high likelihood of more litigation even before
application is filed
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 27
Issue # 5; The Quality of Nuclear Regulation
"Our great hazard is that this great benefit to
mankind will be killed aborning by unnecessary
regulation." AEC Commissioner Willard Libby,
TMI Report Conclusion – “Fundamental
changes in the attitudes of the NRC and the
industry are necessary”;
NRC is made up primarily of dedicated and
capable staff, but quality of leadership and
Congressional oversight are again in question.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 28
Power allocation in India
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 29
• India is the 4th largest economy in the world.
• India has the 2nd largest GDP amongst developing countries based on
purchasing power parity.
• Buoyant economy – growth still expected to be in the region of 6-8%.
• Availability of electricity a key factor in sustaining growth.
• 5th largest electricity generation capacity in the world – over 1,90,592
• Worlds 3rd largest transmission and distribution network.
• Country continues to suffer from massive demand-supply gap
particularly during peak hours.
• 8-10 hours of “load shedding” even in industrialised states. July ‘12
power grid failure – affected over 600 million people.
• Great scope for nuclear power – potential value of sector in India at
USD 150 Billion.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 30
NSG – Exemptions to India
• As a nuclear weapons country, India was excluded from the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty – hence excluded from the nuclear trade by the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG).
• India could join NPT only if it disarmed and joined as a Non-Nuclear
Weapons State – politically impossible.
• Owing to an impeccable record of nuclear non-proliferation and strategic
economic considerations, India was afforded a clean waiver.
• IGAs with France (Sept. 2008), Russia (Dec. 2008) and the US (Oct. 2008)
• India – Specific Safeguards Agreement signed in Feb. 2009. Additional
protocol signed in May 2009.
• Agreements also signed with Canada, Kazakhastan, UK, South Korea,
Mongolia, Australia, Argentina. Negotiations on with Japan and EU.
• Recognition that India has no obligation from treaties and arrangements to
which it is not party (NPT, CTBT, etc.) and the importance of India having
assured fuel supplies.
• All agreements for peaceful purposes, but do not affect India’s
unsafeguarded nuclear activities.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 31
Nuclear energy in india
• As of today
• About 3-4% of the total electricity produced (approx. 4800 MWe)
• Fully indigenous PHWRs
• Active collaboration with Russia on Kudankulam NPP (2*1000
MWe) – possible to upscale to another 2*1000 MWe).
• The Future
• NSG exemptions resulted in about 17% increased outputs in
existing plants. Uranium already imported and used in existing
• High capacity reactors for imports being negotiated with France,
US, Russia, Germany and others.
• JV with AREVA and NPCIL for 6*1000 MWe in implementation
• DAE projects – 30000 MWe by 2020 and 60,000 MWe by 2032.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 32
CIVIL Nuclear Liability law
• The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act, 2010 and the Rules, 2011.
• Background – Bhopal Gas Tragedy (Union Carbide), 1984.
• Many features of the Act similar to the Convention on Supplementary
Compensation for Nuclear Damage, 1997 (CSD) – India has signed but not ratified.
• Liability Caps
• NPPs equal to or > than 10 MWe – about USD 330 Million.
• Spent fuel reprocessing plants – about USD 66 Million.
• NPPs < than 10 MWe, fuel cycle facilties, transportaion of nuclear material,
etc. – About USD 22 Million.
• Anything over the above caps would be paid by the Government subject to a
limit of 300 Million SDR (about USD 450 Million)
• Sufficient ? Union Carbide paid over USD 1 billion for the Bhopal Disaster.
• Some significant departures from the CSD
• While primary liability is on the operators (NPCIL, BHAVINI – both state
owned entities), operators may claim a right of recourse in some situations
against the supplier.
• Section 46 – Act is supplemental – other laws to also apply. Therefore,
opening suppliers to actions in Tort, other environmental laws and even
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 33
Supplier liability – Changing international nuclear
“ The operator of the nuclear installation, after paying the
compensation for nuclear damage..shall have a right of recourse where –
(a) Such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing;
(b) The nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of
supplier or his employee, which includes supply of equipment or material
with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services;
(c) The nuclear incident has resulted from the act of commission or
omission of an individual done with the intent to cause nuclear damage”.
• Exact reproduction of Article 10 of CSC except sub clause (b).
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 34
Supplier liabilities - ambiguities
• To mollify international community, the government introduced Rule 24
“ (1) A contract referred to in clause (a) of section 17 of the Act shall include a
provision for right of recourse not less than the extent of the operator’s liability or
the value of the contract itself, whichever is less;
(2) The provision for the right of recourse referred to in sub-rule (1) shall be for the
duration of initial license issued under the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection)
Rules, 2004 or the product liability period, whichever is longer.”
• Does not refer to situations in Section 17(b).
• Serious ambiguity – no supplier, Indian or foreign happy.
• Price escalation – Russian Government and Kudankulam 1,2,3 and 4.
• Other countries opposed to supplier liability. GE-H, Westinghouse, Areva, sought
changes to the law.
• Westinghouse says it will await India’s ratification of the CSC before offering to
supply equipment to India.
• Activist Indian Judiciary.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 35
A pro-people legislation?
(Pic: Courtesy, the Hindu, A. Shaikhmohideen
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 36
Nuclear Liability Law- PUBLIC Perception
• Major protests at Kudankulam and Jaitapur (site of Areva project).
• Some NGOs believe that apparent limits on liability of supplier
• Hunger strikes, storming of NPP, police strong handedness in
• Pending PIL against Act and Rules in Supreme Court.
• Significant change in India’s civilian nuclear power policies post 2008.
Earlier NPPs set up in the 80s and 90s near major cities like New Delhi
and Chennai witnessed no protests – Why?
• Lack of public awareness and engagement with the people on the issue
of nuclear power.
• Sudden engagement compounds fears – an example of Kudankulam.
• Many fears arising out of misinformation – Indian government alleges
NGOs of certain countries intentionally spreading misinformation.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 37
Concept of Liability
No Fault Liability- strict Liability
Ryland v. Fletcher- 1867 House of Lords
MC Mehta v. Union of India 1987 Supreme Court of
Oleum Gas Tragedy
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 38
Calculation of damages
Learned Hand formula of Calculation of Damages
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 39
Imp. International Instruments Governing Nuclear Energy
IAEA- International Atomic energy Agency
ICRP-Commission on Radiological Protection
UNSCEAR-United Nations Committee on effect of Atomic Radiation
AAEA-Arab Atomic Energy Agency
BSS-International Basic Safety Standards
PAHO-Pan American Health Organisation
NUSS-Nuclear Safety Standards
ICNS-International convention on nuclear Safety
TMI-Three Mile Island-1979- nuclear accident
Chernobyl Accident- 1986
RADWASS-1991- Radio Active Waste Safety Standards
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 40
Current Global Scenario of Nuclear Energy
With a population of 1.2 billion,
the tenth largest economy in terms of GDP, and the
third largest in PPP terms,
India today is the fourth largest primary energy consumer, after
China, U.S. and Russia.
Yet, in per capita terms, India’s consumption is 585 kilogram of
oil equivalent (KGOE);
the global average is 1800,
China stands at 1700 while
the US leaders with 7000+.
Incidentally, I may add that Japan comes in at approximately
4000 KGOE which only goes to show that there is considerable
elasticity even at the level of highly developed economies.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 41
Though our economy has grown annually at an average rate
of 7 per cent since 2000,
approximately 35 per cent of the national population is still
considered to be below poverty level.
Nearly a quarter of the population lacks access to electricity
and energy poverty has been identified as a hindrance to
in terms of power generation, with an installed capacity of
4.8 GW, it accounts for slightly over 2 per cent of the total
estimated at 225 GW covering thermal, hydel and
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 42
The IEP estimates that India’s primary energy supply will
need to increase by 4 to 5 times and
electricity generation capacity by 6 to 7 times – in order to
deliver a sustained growth rate of 9 per cent up to 2035.
What does this imply in terms of figures? It means that in
the most optimistic scenario, nuclear power generation
could go up to 80 GW, out of a total of 1,200 GW, i.e., less
than 7 per cent.
Incidentally, the IEP projection is based on the assumption
that by 2011 our nuclear generating capacity would have
been 11 GW, twice of what it is today!
In other words, nuclear power will continue to account for
only a small fraction of India’s energy mix.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 43
However, energy security is also a key element of the
IEP and defined as follows:
“We are energy secure when we can supply lifeline
energy to all our citizens irrespective of their ability to
pay for it as well as meet their effective demand for safe
and convenient energy to satisfy their various needs at
competitive prices, at all times and with a prescribed
confidence level considering shocks and disruptions
that can be reasonably expected.”
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 44
Further, even with this growth rate, India’s per capita electricity
consumption currently at approximately 600 KWH will only rise
to approximately 2,600 KWH
which incidentally is China’s today per-capita consumption
whereas the OECD average today is more than 8000 KWH per
Given that the fuel mix for power generation in 2035 would
remain fairly similar to what it is today, with fossil fuels being the
dominant resource –
it implies, in turn, a growing import dependency.
Therefore, even though nuclear energy will remain a small part
of the overall energy mix, it is a critical part in addressing our
energy challenges, mitigating carbon emissions and enhancing
energy security in terms of reducing dependence on foreign
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 45
The nuclear issue often attracts more than its due
share of controversy .
In order to understand the challenges that India’s
nuclear energy programme has faced, we need to have
a historical perspective.
Broadly, India’s nuclear story can be divided into four
phase 1 (1947 to 1974),
phase 2 (1974-1998),
phase 3 (1998-2008), and
phase 4 (post-2008).
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 46
phase 1 (1947 to 1974),
During the first phase, the Atomic Energy Commission
was set up in 1948,
the Department of Atomic Energy established in 1954,
the Atomic Energy Act passed in 1962,
the first research reactors – Apsara , Cirus and Purnima set
up and the
Tarapur power station went online.
It was the period of ‘Atoms for Peace’ when international
cooperation was actively promoted.
Indian nuclear science benefited from this open
environment even though we had decided to stay out of the
NPT in 1968.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 47
phase 2 (1974-1998),
Phase 2 marked by the 1974
PNE changed things dramatically.
Proliferation was seen as a threat,
Nuclear Suppliers Group was set up and
India was isolated from global nuclear industry and
Indian nuclear scientists embraced ‘self-reliance’,
leading to inevitable delays.
The second nuclear power plant in Rajasthan was
delayed by eight years (from 1973 to 1981),
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 48
the Fast Breeder Test Reactor by nine years (from 1976
to 1985) and
the Kalpakkam and Narora Power Plants also faced
During the 1990s, there were other developments –
further tightening of export controls on dual use
technologies, the indefinite extension of the NPT,
Pakistan’s nuclear weaponisation and missile
proliferation in our neighbourhood.
This was the period when India sought to safeguard its
‘nuclear option’ and the programme, including the
civilian side, attracted secrecy.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 49
phase 3 (1998-2008),
The third phase began with our nuclear tests in
mid-1998 when India declared itself a nuclear
Initially, the international reaction was strong in
terms of UN Security Council sanctions.
However, with sustained diplomatic efforts and
changes in the international environment, we
were able to come out of the isolation.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 50
phase 4 (post-2008)
The US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement of 2008, also called
the 123 Agreement, marks the beginning of phase 4.
Since then, a number of bilateral cooperation agreements have been
signed, including with France and Russia.
India has also adopted its Nuclear Liability Act, though this is a subject
on which the suppliers’ community has posed some questions.
This short account would perhaps indicate both why the Indian nuclear
programme remained shrouded in secrecy and the nuclear power
programme often suffered delays and cost overruns.
It is only in the fourth phase post 2008 that the situation started
changing after we began to move in the direction of separating the
civilian part of the nuclear sector from the weapons and security-
related side with more facilities being brought under IAEA safeguards.
Understandably, the weapons programme will always remain classified
whereas the civilian programme will attract growing scrutiny and
accountability in order to enjoy public support.
This is the major change that has taken place but it is still work-in-
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 51
It is in this context that your meeting today assumes
significance. As I mentioned, present nuclear power
capacity is 4.8 GW, consisting of 20 reactors all of which
are primarily indigenous PHWRs except for the two initial
LWRs at Tarapur. Seven more reactors, including a
prototype fast breeder reactor, are expected to more than
double the capacity by 2017. The Twelfth Five Year Plan
foresees a major expansion in the nuclear power generation
with more than 10 indigenous PHWR reactors and as many
as 10 LWR reactors with international collaborations with
France, Russia and US. This would be a major transition
because it would also involve the technology
demonstration marking the second stage of India’s nuclear
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 52
The nuclear civilian cooperation agreements signed in
recent years have enabled us to improve generation at
the existing nuclear plants thanks largely to enhanced
It is expected that by the end of stage 2, India would
have an installed capacity of nearly 30 GW, ready to
undertake the transition to stage 3, which is the
thorium generated U-233 cycle, self-sustaining in view
of our extensive thorium reserves.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 53
Naturally, this is a highly ambitious programme and bound to be
questioned, both with regard to technical and economic feasibility.
It explores new technologies because no other country has the same
stakes in working on the thorium cycle as we have. At the same time,
post-Fukushima anti-nuclear sentiment has grown, including in India,
although there are some reports that the Japanese government is now
softening its opposition to nuclear power.
Therefore, while transparency and accountability on the part of the
nuclear establishment is essential in order to develop public support and
confidence, it is equally important that we refrain from falling into either
the ‘anti-nuclear trap’ or the traditional criticisms of the last 30 years
when even the civilian aspect of the programme was classified.
Today, while there is a strong case to be made out for nuclear power both
in terms of energy security and mitigating carbon emissions, concerns
over safety aspects as well as cost effectiveness will have to be
Therefore, public engagement and risk assessment become important.
Our citizens must have confidence in the regulatory processes.
AERB has already been strengthened and further strengthening of
regulatory mechanisms is foreseen under the Nuclear Safety Regulatory
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 54
Regarding the Liability issues. I think we all understand how nuclear
liability laws have evolved and why liability was channelled exclusively
to the operator.
In the 50s, only the US had a nuclear industry and the US private sector
needed this protection in order to establish itself at a global level.
Today, the situation is different and there is a growing feeling that this
exclusive channelling is no longer helpful.
The Indian law, in this regard may not be consistent with existing
practice but it is certainly much more in consonance with the spirit of
The idea of some measure of supplier liability is an idea that can no
longer be bypassed.
However, what we need to ensure is that it does not become ‘infinite’
or ‘open ended’. What is, therefore, needed is a genuine effort to
address the concerns of the suppliers’ community so that their liability
is not ambiguous and open ended but can be quantified in a manner
that does not raise costs to prohibitive levels.
Such an approach would actually advance international nuclear
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 55
The Safety Goal
Individual members of the public should be provided a
level of protection from the consequences of nuclear
power plant operation
such that they bear no significant additional risk to life
and health, and
societal risks to life and health from nuclear power
should be comparable to or less than the risks of
generating electricity by viable competing
should not be a significant addition to other societal
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 56
Connecting Ten Dots
1) A 2002 survey of NRC employees says that 40% would be scared to
raise significant safety questions. Then Chairman Richard Meserve said
this was a big improvement from the 50% of five years earlier.
2) January 2003 - A NY Times story reported that the NRC had ruled that
terrorism was too speculative to be considered in NRC licensing
proceedings, even as the Bush administration and Congress considered
terrorism likely enough to suspend habeas corpus. This position has
since been rejected by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the NRC
continues to apply it elsewhere.
Incidentally, the original staff testimony taking this position was
submitted on September 12, 2001, while the Trade Center and the
Pentagon were still smoldering. The licensing board wanted to admit the
contention over the staff objection but was overruled by the commission.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 57
3) From an NYT editorial of January 7, 2003 -
Unfortunately, the regulatory agency that was supposed to ride herd on
unsafe plants was equally negligent. A report just released by the
N.R.C.'s inspector general concludes that the regulatory staff was slow
to order Davis-Besse to shut down for inspection, in large part because it
did not want to impose unnecessary costs on the owner and did not
want to give the industry a black eye. Although the N.R.C. insists that
safety remains its top priority, its timidity in this case cries out for a
searching Congressional inquiry into whether the regulators can still be
counted on to protect the public from cavalier reactor operators.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 58
Connecting 10 Dots
4) In 2003 the NRC submitted the name of Sam Collins, the official who
had overseen the Davis Besse lapses, to the Office of Personnel for the
highest civilian financial award, a 35% bonus - or about $40,000.
During the time covered by the award, the NRC inspector general also
concluded that Collins had knowingly inserted a false statement into a
letter sent by the NRC chair to David Lochbaum at the Union of
As Lochbaum observed at the time "The NRC has a safety culture
problem. The survey released last December showed that only 51% of the
workers felt comfortable raising safety concerns. The Commission can
only reinforce the fears by rewarding a person who has falsified
documents, chided those who did their jobs, and taken repeated steps to
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 59
5) Immediately after the September 11 attacks, the
NRC rushed out a claim that nuclear power
plants were designed to withstand such
crashes. This claim, which had not correct, was
6) Two unprecedented speeches by a Commissioner
attacking groups with a history of responsible
participation in NRC proceedings.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 60
Connecting 10 Dots
7) The claim by Senator Pete Domenici that he had successfully
persuaded the NRC to reverse its "adversarial attitude" toward the
nuclear industry by threatening to cut its budget by one-third during a
1998 meeting with the chair (from Senator Pete V. Domenici, A Brighter
Tomorrow; Fulfilling the Promise of Nuclear Energy (Rowman and
Littlefield, 1998, pp. 74-75)
8) The fact that the current NRC chair (Dale Klein) appeared in paid
industry ads attesting to the safety of Yucca Mountain. When
Commissioner Jaczko was appointed from the staff of Nevada Senator
Harry Reid, he was required to take no part in Yucca Mountain matters
for a year or two. No such requirement was placed on Klein.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 61
9) The NRC has dramatically curtailed the opportunities for public
participation. To give but one of many examples, lawyers can no longer
cross examine in most cases. They must submit their questions to the
licensing board chair, who decides whether or not to ask them.
10) "The top U.S. nuclear regulator vouched for the safety of a new
Westinghouse nuclear reactor - yet to be built anywhere in the world - in
a sales pitch to supply China's growing power industry.....U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission Chairman Nils Diaz said the U.S. $1.5 billion
AP1000 reactor made by Westinghouse Electric Co. is likely to receive
regulatory approval in the next few months." Associated Press, October
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 62
An Unfortunate Reality
The nuclear power programs that actually unfold are
never the idealized programs that nuclear proponents
Just look at the Energy Policy Act of 2005, NRC biases,
the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, the recent deal
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 63
Sensible Energy Policy that Might Improve Nuclear Power Prospects and
Command Broad Political Support
Implement climate change policy that creates (or recognizes) value of all
carbon reducing technologies, including carbon sequestration, energy
efficiency and renewable energy
Carbon caps and markets
Carbon reducing set asides (portfolio standards) and/or production tax
Remove Price-Anderson liability limitations for future projects
Use neutral market mechanisms to choose least costly approaches among
Avoid “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey” energy policy making
Take the time to deal sensibly with waste, proliferation and safeguards;
Rigorous prioritization of options for research purposes – effective,
Recreate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as an impartial and widely
respected regulatory body.
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, http://energylex.blogspot.in 64
Global Issues and Challenges:
The global legal order for the atom's safe and peaceful uses is
grounded on a mix of binding norms and advisory regulations
1. The safe use of nuclear energy-
1. Radiation protection
2. Safety of nuclear power plants
1. Nuclear safety convention
3. Notification of a nuclear accident and emergency assistance
4. Radioactive waste management
5. Steps toward convention on radioactive
Transport of radioactive material
Safety standards for nuclear merchant ships
6. Civil liability for nuclear damage
7. Physical protection of nuclear material
8. Armed attacks against nuclear installations
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9. The peaceful uses of nuclear energy
10. IAEA safeguards system
11. Categories of safeguards agreements
12. Technical features and measures
Reporting to the UN Security Council
13. IAEA verification under the UN Charter
14. Other verification initiatives
15. A changing progressive picture
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The way forward
• Ambiguities regarding supplier liability have to go – Government must bite
the bullet one way or the other.
• Politically, very difficult to remove supplier liability altogether, but clarity
• Suppliers can then determine the extent of liability, have price negotiations
and take out insurance.
• Insurance pools – needs to be created. Presently no nuclear insurance pool
in India due to restrictions on inspection of facilities by international pools.
• Contractual negotiations on supplier liability must be encouraged. Can the
Indian government contractually waive its right of recourse against a
• Generation of positive public opinion and detailed engagement with the
• Tremendous potential for exploiting Nuclear energy in India. India can be
an exporter of reactors. Massive potential yet to be tapped.
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68Dr. Tabrez Ahmad http://corpolexindia.blogspot.in
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad http://corpolexindia.blogspot.in 69
Dr. Tabrez Ahmad http://corpolexindia.blogspot.in