Global nuclear industry players and Indian insurance companies met at the two-day India Nuclear Business Platform earlier this week, at which the adequacy of nuclear liability insurance was discussed, particularly with the Indian government planning on expanding nuclear power plants.
The issue is important as India plans to increase nuclear power capacity to 22GW by 2032. At end-March 2018, India had a total installed nuclear capacity of 6,780MW.
At present, nine nuclear power reactors with a capacity of 6.7GW are at various stages of construction, which would take the total installed nuclear power capacity to 13.48GW by 2024-25. In addition, government has already granted approval for another 12 nuclear power reactors with an aggregate capacity of 9GW, reports Business Standard.
The Indian government set up the INR15bn ($202m) India Nuclear Insurance Pool in June 2015, to provide cover corporate liability against any accident at nuclear plants. The cover comes under India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act of 2010 (CLND Act). The pool was created as to promote the development of nuclear power in India.
Increasing the pool size leads to higher capital required from GIC Re and the four state-run general insurance companies. Though there are seven other Indian insurance companies with stakes in the pool, such as ICICI Lombard and Tata AIG, their stakes are small. However, the government-run New India Assurance, National Insurance, United India and Oriental Insurance, each contributes INR3bn to the pool.
The Indian side argues that the pool amount is adequate for now, and that the risks are quite unlikely.
It is essentially a matter of perception, said a senior IRDAI official. “India has never reneged on an international commitment, which too the companies should factor in,” said a government official. IRDAI though does not have a a direct role in the discussions which are a commercial issue between the GIC-Re-led consortium and foreign nuclear project developers.