IAEA to begin review of nuke plants in Rajasthan

Global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will begin an in-depth operational safety review of two atomic power plants at Rawatbhatta in Rajasthan on Monday, the first such exercise in India after the Fukushima incident.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) of the IAEA will review programs and activities essential to operational safety at units 3 and 4 of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) between October 29 and November 15.

“Basically, it is a peer review of safety status and operating practices done by a team of experts for the IAEA,” said S S Bajaj, Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. All nuclear plants had undergone a peer review earlier by international experts of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), but for the first time it is being subjected to the OSART process.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Ratan Kumar Sinha said, OSART would give insight into the operational process. “Both OSART and WANO are independent external reviews. It is more of a confidence-building exercise as experts of 10 different nations are involved,” he said. Sinha said the outcome of the WANO review is confidential, but the findings of the OSART process are in the public domain. Bajaj said a decision on inviting OSART experts to other nuclear power plants would be taken after studying the outcome of RAPS review.

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