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India to strengthen nuclear watchdog
MUMBAI, March 29 (Agencies):
Published on 29 Mar. 2011 11:57 PM IST
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India will strengthen the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board into a more autonomous and independent body and boost accountability and transparency in the functioning of the country’s nuclear power plants, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday.
All reactors built in India will have to meet safety standards certified by the regulatory authority, including on imported equipment and technologies, Singh said at an event in New Delhi.
His comments come close on the heels of a devastating earthquake and a tsunami in Japan which severely damaged four nuclear reactors north of Tokyo. The event has led to fresh debates about the safety of civilian nuclear technology and forced a global rethink about this source of energy.
“We should bring greater openness and transparency in the decision-making processes relating to our nuclear energy program and improve our capacity to respond to the public desire to be kept informed about decisions and issues that are of concern to them,” a government statement quoted Mr. Singh as saying.
The prime minister said people have to be convinced about the safety and security of the country’s nuclear power plants and the administration cannot afford to be complacent.
India’s “large and fast-growing economy” has to inevitably “tap all sources of energy” and diversify the energy mix, Mr. Singh said.
“Nuclear energy has the potential of playing an increasingly important role in giving our country energy independence from traditional and often polluting sources of energy,” he added.

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