Keywords: nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear accidents, limited liability, sustainable development, sustainability, environmental law, India, human rights, International Civil Nuclear Liability Law, polluter pays, equity, nuclear law
Looking through the prism of international environment and human rights law - International Civil Nuclear Liability Law and a call for Indian exceptionalism
As the spectre of climate change and competition over fossil fuels have led energy–hungry states towards nuclear power, liability rules for nuclear damage have acquired increased significance. However, many of the core common elements of the existing international legal regimes on civil nuclear liability - channelling of liability, quantum and temporal limits, definition of harm, etc. - are not only based on outdated assumptions on the price and utility of nuclear energy, but also conflict with contemporary international environmental law principles. This gulf creates negative incentives against precautionary measures, limits compensation available for potential victims and lends artificial competitiveness to nuclear power. As a result these international regimes cannot, in their present form, serve as appropriate models for Indian attempts at institutionalisation of its liability norms.