US nuclear safety experts to visit India

November 5th, 2011 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) Amid rising concerns over atomic safety in India in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, a team from US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will be holding talks with their Indian counterparts and visit nuclear installations later this month.

The five-member delegation, led by NRC chairman Gregory B. Jaczko, will visit nuclear facilities in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai Nov 14-18 and hold talks with officials of the India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

“The visit is to exchange information and share experience on safety standards and regulation for the safe operation of nuclear power plants,” the US embassy said here Saturday.

The delegation will visit Tarapur Atomic Power Station, Madras Atomic Power Station, laboratories at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai and the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research in Chennai.

“I look forward to the continuation and advancement of our long-term relationships with our AERB Indian counterparts and with other Indian organizations in the area of nuclear safety,” said Jaczko ahead of his visit.

Another nine-member technical delegation from NRC will be here Delhi to participate in the 21st International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT) Nov 6-11.

This will be followed by post-conference seminars in Mumbai and Tamil Nadu on Nov 14-15 on topics that include advances in seismic design of structures, innovative fast reactor design, and high temperature design reactors.

Issues related to the mechanics of materials, design and construction, safety and reliability of reactor operations, fuel cycle facilities, waste management, decommissioning and the challenges of new reactors will be among subjects discussed at these meetings.

The visit comes at a time when a protest movement has crystallised around the Russia-built Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, with protesters demanding the scrapping of the project.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured highest nuclear safety standards for nuclear installations and made it clear that all efforts will be made to address safety concerns that have acquired a new resonance after the Fukushima radiation leak in March this year.

India and the US signed a landmark nuclear deal in 2008, but they have yet to implement the agreement as Washington is uneasy with New Delhi’s liability regime which it sees as onerous and had demanded that it be brought in line with international standards.

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