No complacency on N-safety: Experts

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 08, 2012 19:32 hrs

Amid protests against the Kudankulam and Jaitapur nuclear power projects, industry officials and experts on Thursday said there was no place for complacency as far as the safety of nuclear plants was concerned and it could be further strengthened after more research.

According to S S Bajaj, chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the comprehensive reviews carried out after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan had strengthened the country's nuclear system. “These measures would indeed raise the safety to higher standards,” he told Business Standard here. The Fukushima accident has influenced the public perception globally as apprehensions about nuclear safety were raised thereafter, said K C Purohit, chairman and managing director of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd. "There is a need for different platforms of communications to be developed for different people as the public acceptability is one of the keys for acceptability. We will have to communicate the safety performance parameters in a language which is understandable for the public at large and for neighbourhood population in particular," he said.

Atomic Energy Commission chairman R K Sinha said the Fukushima accident had further emphasised the need for maintaining a high level of safety in all nuclear activities.

Necessary actions for improvement are being implemented based on the outcome of a significant amount of work done by the Indian nuclear community, he said.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Tata Memorial Hospital have been asked to carry out a fundamental research on the impact of release of radio activity on the people.

Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, emphasised on the need for a comprehensive approach to safety. "Plant should be able to cope without significant radio active releases and without irreparable damage. Besides, plant should be able to cope without requiring significant off site emergency response. There was a need to reassess the design basis assumptions for both new and existing plants at two levels," he noted.

According to Kakodkar, the Fukushima accident was triggered by an extreme natural event. "We must ensure that an essential goal for nuclear safety is ‘never again’ should there aby any significant offsite emergency."

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