Airports asked to maintain safe flight path over nuclear plants

December 18th, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) Airports have been asked to maintain a “safe flight path” over nuclear power plants across the country following heightened threat perception to sensitive installations, a senior aviation official said Thursday.The government Tuesday declared the 10-km radius around the Kalpakkam nuclear installation in Tamil Nadu as a no-fly zone.

The official in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told IANS that the nuclear installation at Kalpakkam was near the air path (most of the aircraft flew over it) and is 80 km from Chennai airport.

This, the official said, was a matter of concern, given the threat perception assessed by intelligence agencies and the aviation security officials, particularly in the wake of last month’s Mumbai terror attacks.

“We are working out a renewed security plan for airports. Other nuclear power plants and vital installations across the country would also be declared no-fly zones and appropriate directions would be issued,” he said.

The DGCA Dec 16 issued notices to airlines, prohibiting all flying activity up to a height of 10,000 feet over the Kalpakkam nuclear installation and its adjoining area.

Kalpakkam houses Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and Madras Atomic Power Station.

The DGCA is granted special powers under the Aircraft Act of 1934 to direct air operators, including the navigation, air traffic control, surveillance and communication.

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