India is undergoing a major rehaul of its nuclear establishment that includes two new bills and four reports by the Department of Atomic Energy. In addition, said a source, India would meet all new international standards.
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised a thorough review of nuclear safety and standards in India.
The DAE had created four task forces to consider what, if any, changes India had to make in terms of reactor design, operation, siting and maintenance. “The government has received reports from three of these task forces,” said a source.
One of these three reports has listed additional measures that should be taken. “We are going through the process,” said a source. The criteria for choosing nuclear reactor sites, for example, will be upgraded and the infrastructure for nuclear projects reformed.
In addition, the monsoon session of parliament is likely to see two new pieces of legislation relating to nuclear issues.
One will be on radioactive materials, a fallout of the Mayapur incident when a radioactive cobalt-60 source from a university found its way to a scrap dealer in Delhi and caused a major public health crisis.
The other one will be about the authority and functions of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. “This will be put before a standing committee of parliament. That way everyone can have a say. The government will need outside inputs,” said a source.
Finally, said a source, India is committed to meeting all international standards. The International Atomic Energy Agency is raising its safety standards post-Fukushima and India will ensure that its facilities are in compliance.