India fast-tracking amendment to AERB legislation

India fast-tracking amendment to AERB legislation

The government had ordered a thorough review of the nuclear installations in India after the Fukushima incident of last month and four task forces were set up to recommend steps to ensure that natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami do not affect them.

The AERB amendment bill will be introduced in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, sources said.

It will then be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the relevant department for scrutiny and suggestions, they said.

The government decision comes after one of the task forces set up for review suggested in its report that additional measures needed to be taken with regard to safety of the nuclear installations, the sources said.

As a follow-up, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Department of Atomic Energy would be looking into the suggestions.

The review will cover aspects like design of nuclear plants, operational maintenance and selection of sites for the new plants, the sources said.

The specific measures to be worked out will be the remedial measures in case coolants are lost in any natural calamity. The nuclear plant in Fukushima has witnessed this problem after tsunami hit its reactors and authorities have since been trying to replenish it as they are unable to shut down the facility.

The new measures will cover not only the nuclear plants, but also other facilities like research labs, considering the incident of Mongolpuri in Delhi two years back when radiation from Cobalt-60 emitted from a piece of scrap. The effect of that radiation, however, was localised.

"Few things need to be done and faster," the sources said. "Whatever needs to be done, government will do," they said but feel that there was no requirement of any survey or help by any international agency.

India is also of the view that in light of the Fukushima experience, there should be at international level some nuclear disaster response mechanisms, which many countries are having domestically.