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Hazard Concerns: MIC at Bhopal and Virginia and the Indian Nuclear Liability Act

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  • Tyabji, Nasir

Abstract

Oblivious to the anger and outrage expressed throughout the world after the methyl isocyanate leak in December 1984, the continued storage of MIC at the parent West Virginia plant until 2011, despite several accidents, indicates the limited effect of public safety concerns on corporate strategy. As in India, neither the US executive nor the judiciary seemed capable of withstanding pressures exerted by the chemical processing industry. This is an ongoing story of struggle. What gave Bhopal a fresh salience in the public mind was the Indian government’s proposal to buy nuclear power reactors from the US, and to agree to legislation which would satisfy US manufacturers of the limits to their liability. Disconcertingly for the government, the Bhopal chief judicial magistrate’s judgment in 2010 led to an explosion of public fury, forcing the government to introduce clauses in the nuclear liability legislation laying down responsibility on the technology supplier. If organic chemicals have awakened the world to the dangers of chemical substances, Bhopal brought home the fraught nature of industrial processes involving exothermic reactions.

Suggested Citation

  • Tyabji, Nasir, 2012. "Hazard Concerns: MIC at Bhopal and Virginia and the Indian Nuclear Liability Act," MPRA Paper 49609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49609
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/49609/1/MPRA_paper_49609.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bhopal Gas Disaster; Union Carbide; Technology Transfer; Transnational Corporations; People concerned about MIC (PCMIC); Nuclear Liability Act;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • N8 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History
    • N82 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N85 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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