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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

IAEA team to visit India's nuke plants by year-end

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 19, 2012
First Published: 23:21 IST(19/8/2012) | Last Updated: 23:23 IST(19/8/2012)

A team of the  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit India later this year to analyse the safety aspects of the country's nuclear power plants.


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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2011 had extended invitation to IAEA to conduct safety review of the nuclear power plants after Fukushima nuclear disaster and growing concern in India over safety of its plants.

The PM's invitation was also to allay fears of citizens regarding upcoming nuclear reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra and Koodankulum in Tamil Nadu, which are facing opposition from by residents and non-government organisations.

Now, the IAEA has informed the government that its Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) will visit India from October 29 to November 15 to review safety of nuke reactors three and four at Rajasthan Atomic Power Station  at Rawatbhata. It had earlier conducted safety review of nuclear establishment in Iran amid concerns raised by western countries including US and Britain.  

The Rajasthan nuclear plant had been in news for a reported leak of tritium radiation on July 19, which the officials at the plant termed as a "routine" matter. Four workers were exposed to radiation, while repairing a pipe in a pressurised heavy water reactor. Unofficial sources,however, said 38 workers were exposed to radiation.

The Department of Atomic Energy told Parliament this week that OSART will review safety features of the Rajasthan plant. The government is keen to have best safety systems in the plants as it plans to expand country's nuke power generation to 20,000 MW by 2020, a senior government official said. "The suggestions of OSART will be taken seriously".

The department, however, clarified that no formal invitation has been sent yet to the IAEA for peer review of the regulatory system of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.


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