Bali (Indonesia):  Implementation of the civil nuclear deal is expected to come up when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets US President Barack Obama here on Friday against the backdrop of India notifying the rules for conducting nuclear business with an aim to address apprehensions of American and other foreign companies.
    
At their first meeting since Obama's state visit to New Delhi in November last year, the two leaders are expected to chart a road ahead in bilateral relations based on the outcomes of their last meeting.
    
Among the various issues expected to be discussed is the implementation of civil nuclear deal which has been delayed because of apprehensions among American companies over the liability aspect. The US had been pressing India to put in place the rules for conduct of nuclear business, which was done on Wednesday.
    
Ahead of the meeting, India asserted that its domestic laws with regard to nuclear liability and compensation will have to prevail and any contention otherwise would not be realistic after the Fukushima incident.
    
The sources said the rules should address concerns that any foreign company could have as these make it clear that liability cannot be unlimited or unending.
    
They underlined that law of the land will have to apply and the notification of the rules only clarifies the situation with regard to payment of compensation to victims in the case of a nuclear accident without waiting for the legal procedures to come into play.

The rules make it clear that a supplier will be liable in the case of a mishap on account of faulty material but the liability cannot be unlimited and for an unending period.

Noting that these rules deal with the contract with regard to liability, the sources said that to the extent that these do not permit unlimited and unending liability, it "addresses the concerns" that any foreign company might have.

"We don't see it putting obstacles in the path of doing (nuclear) business in India," an official source said while referring to the provision on supplier liability, taken in the context of Clause 17(a) of the Civil Nuclear Liability Act.

The sources noted that foreign companies were already happily engaged in nuclear business in India within the ambit of existing laws and if they have no problem, the new players should also have no difficulties.

To a view that the new rules would not address the concerns of American companies, the sources suggested that it would be for the US firms to say that.

"The real test to this is whether the US firms are willing to do business or not under these terms. We don't know. We have not talked to them. The rules came out only on Wednesday. So we will find out," they said.

Explaining the necessity of putting in place proper compensation norms, the sources referred to the Fukushima incident where radiation leaked after a nuclear plant located on the Japanese coast was hit by tsunami earlier this year.

Nobody can say that the Indian laws will not apply, the sources said, while highlighting the fact that citizens of the country have certain rights under the Constitution and these are reflected in the Act.

The liability rules cannot override the Indian laws, they emphasised.

The sources also insisted that the Nuclear Liability Act was compliant with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC).

(Agencies)