Asian Journal of International Law


The 2008 United States-India Nuclear Co-operation Agreement and the Work of the International Law Commission on International Liability for Injurious Consequences Arising Out of Acts not Prohibited by International Law

Robert P. BARNIDGE Jr.a1 c1*

a1 University of Reading, United Kingdom


This article examines the 2008 Agreement for Co-operation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy [“123 Agreement”] within the context of the International Law Commission's (ILC) work on international liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law. Attention is paid to three issues in particular, namely how international environmental law has developed to interact with vaguely worded environmental protection provisions, such as those in the 123 Agreement, and the role of experts in this regard, the issue of civil nuclear liability, and the question of what international law might require for environmental impact assessments under the 123 Agreement to pass muster.

(Online publication November 04 2011)


* Lecturer in Law, University of Reading, United Kingdom. The author would like to thank Sandy Ghandhi, Christopher Hilson, James Green, Mark Wilde, Tan Hsien-Li, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this article. The research for this article was conducted within the context of a three-year British Academy UK-South Asia Partnership grant that is studying “India, the 123 Agreement, and Nuclear Energy: Issues of International Law”, and that involves a team of scholars at the University of Reading and the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, Chennai.