India to set up an autonomous n-regulatory authority (Lead)

April 26th, 2011 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The government will introduce a bill in the next session of parliament to create an independent and autonomous nuclear regulatory authority, a minister said Tuesday.

“The government will introduce a bill in the nest session of parliament to create an independent and autonomous Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India that will subsume the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB),” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told reporters here.

This was decided at a meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the current status of the 9,000 MW Jaitapur nuclear project and the impact of Japan’s Fukushima atomic tragedy on India’s nuclear programme.

The meeting was attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, principal secretary to the prime minister T.K.A. Nair, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) chairman S.K. Jain.

Terming it a “landmark” decision, Chavan said: “There was a long pending demand to make a statutory body under an act of parliament to regulate nuclear energy in the country. It will include all nuclear experts and will be of international standard.”

To placate the ongoing protests in Jaitapur, Narayanasamy said that a new compensation package is being decided.

“A generous compensation package had been worked out by state government and NPCIL and will be announced soon,” said Narayanasamy, flanked by Chavan, Ramesh and Atomic Energy Commission chief Srikumar Banerjee.

The meeting also decided to use best available expertise to ensure the highest levels of safety.

“The government will invite the Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) to assist its own safety reviews and audit. Each of the six reactors in Jaitapur will have their own individual stand alone safety and operation systems,” said Narayanasamy.

The government has also decided that the initial results of the six safety review committees set up by the prime minister after the Fukushima accident in Japan will be made public and action taken on previous safety reviews will be put in the public domain.

“All reactors and technologies, whether indigenous or imported, with without exception meet the safety standards that are stipulated by the regulatory authorities, and there will be complete transparency in the functioning of the nuclear power programme,” he said.

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