Global panel lauds India’s nuclear safety record

April 30th, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi/Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) The fourth review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) in Vienna has praised India’s record of nuclear safety - a significant endorsement that could help New Delhi in winning sceptics in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for global civil nuclear cooperation. “Our report was well received. It’s a sort of peer review and we were praised for our high international standards of safety at nuclear power plants,” Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) chairman S.K. Sharma told IANS by telephone from Mumbai.

This was India’s first national report on nuclear power plants safety at the CNS in Vienna after New Delhi became an observer at the panel at its last meeting in 2005.

Indian officials presented the 206-page report at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) secretariat where the meeting of the convention took place.

The report took note of various steps India has taken for nuclear safety and lauded Nuclear Power Corporation and the AERB for putting in place mechanisms that use operating experience feedback from both Indian and global community to improve safety, said Sharma who led the 17-member Indian delegation to the convention.

The report included the effective regulatory mechanism for India’s 17 operating nuclear plants and six plants under construction.

This appreciation for India’s nuclear safety will weigh in the country’s favour when the NSG considers amending guidelines to facilitate global civil nuclear cooperation with it.

The India-US civil nuclear deal is currently languishing due to political opposition by Leftist allies of the Indian government. India has to cross two hurdles - finalizing a safeguards pact with the IAEA and a change in NSG guidelines - before the deal can become operational after the US Congress ratifies it.

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