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Friday, April 15, 2011

India vows to improve atomic safety

India should ramp up safety mechanisms at its existing and planned nuclear power plants in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday (15-Apr-2011).

In the backdrop of the Japan radiation scare, India is fast-tracking amendment to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) legislation for introduction in the coming session of Parliament amid a high-level committee’s recommendations that additional protective measures needed to be taken at nuclear facilities.

The government had ordered a thorough review of the nuclear installations in India after the Fukushima incident of last month and four task forces were set up to recommend steps to ensure that natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami do not affect them.

The government-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which operates all 20 nuclear power plants in the country, is taking steps for this extra safety, which also includes storage of water and the diesel-operated pumps that start automatically in such eventualities for cooling the reactors.

India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is also independently reviewing safety issues of nuclear plants. The NPCIL said it will await the results of that review, but will seek to implement the task force's recommendations immediately.

India is also of the view that in light of the Fukushima experience, there should be at international level some nuclear disaster response mechanisms, which many countries are having domestically.

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