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New nuke safety bill to be tabled in parl.
Published on 15 Apr. 2011 11:02 PM IST
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Alarmed by the nuclear disaster following a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Indian government intends to ramp up the safety norms of its civil atomic plants and will table two bills on this during the monsoon session of parliament, an official said Friday.
The proposed bills include the one that suggests additional and foolproof measures for India’s civil nuclear facilities, the official told Indian journalists travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Kazakh capital Astana, where he is expected to sign a non-military atomic pact.
“The nuclear safety legislation will be brought to parliament and will be sent to a standing committee for study. Nuclear safety measures have to meet the international standards,” an official, who spoke only if he was not identified, said.
He said the standing committee of parliament on science and technology was the best place to discuss the issue “in an open manner”.
The official said that the other legislation, which has been in the offing for long, proposes amendments to the Atomic Energy Act to make the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) a statutory autonomous body.
The AERB enjoys some functional independence but there were issues regarding the statutory status of its autonomy. “And the proposed legislation guarantees that,” the official said.
India’s Department of Atomic Energy had formed four task forces in the wake of the nuclear meltdown in Japan’s Fukushima plant post the March 11 earthquake. One of the task forces had strongly suggested additional measures for the safety and security of reactors.
“The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) will look into the additional costs and whatever is needed, the government will do,” added the official.
He said the government was also reviewing the criteria of site selection for nuclear plants.
India has some 20 operating non-military nuclear power plants and construction is underway of another half-a-dozen such plants.
The official said India is pushing for the need to re-examine nuclear safety norms the world over as a result of what happened at the Fukushima plant.

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