Scientists brief PM on safety of nuclear installations

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Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Mar 16: In the backdrop of nuclear mishap in Japan due to tsunami, India's top atomic scientists today briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on safety of nuclear installations in the country.

Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Srikumar Banerjee and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Chairman S S Bajaj met the Prime Minister and briefed him about the review they undertook pertaining to various aspects of the nuclear installations in the country.

The meeting comes two days after Singh had announced in Parliament that an immediate technical review of India's atomic plants has been ordered to check if they can withstand the impact of major natural disasters like tsunami and earthquakes in the wake of the catastrophe in Japan threatening a nuclear meltdown.

"The Department of Atomic Energy and its agencies, including the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) have been instructed to undertake an immediate technical review of all safety systems of our nuclear power plants, particularly with a view to ensuring that they would be able to withstand the impact of large natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes," he had said.

He had informed both Houses of Parliament that India was in constant touch with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum and the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

The nuclear mishap in Japan was triggered by the tsunami caused by massive earthquake cutting down power to the aging plant and knocking out cooling systems.

The incidents raised many questions about the safety aspects of nuclear installations in case of natural calamity in the country.

Most of the atomic bodies in India have taken a cautious approach towards the whole issue and have refused to conclude either way- whether it will happen to plants in the country or not.

They have maintained that they will revisit all safety aspects of atomic plants in the country and analyse the nuclear crisis arising in Japan after the tsunami as it has offered new lessons to fine tune existing emergency preparedness.

PTI

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