Who: Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015
What: Passed unanimously by Lok Sabha
When: 14 December 2015
The Lok Sabha on 14 December 2015 passed the landmark Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill seeks to overcome difficulties encountered in the setting up of new nuclear projects and enhancement of nuclear power generation.
The bill was passed with a voice vote from both treasury as well as opposition benches. It will now be referred to Rajya Sabha for ratification.
Highlights of Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. The Act empowers the central government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy. The amendment will pave the way for Atomic Energy Units, including Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to enter into joint-ventures with other Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and government sector companies.
• Under the Act, a government company is one in which at least 51 percent of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government. Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares. The Bill expands this definition to include companies where the whole of the paid up share capital is held by one or more government company and whose articles of association empower the central government to constitute its Board of Directors. This provision will allow for the formation of joint ventures between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and other government companies.
• Under the Act, a license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research. The Bill makes consequential amendments to state that such license will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of union government.
• The Bill states that any license granted for matters such as, producing atomic energy, and acquiring and using substances or minerals from which atomic energy can be obtained, will be cancelled if a licensee ceases to be a government company.