IAEA chief to visit India on second anniversary of Fukushima disaster

On the second anniversary of Fukushima nuclear accident, Yukiya Amano,Director-General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will communicate to Indian nuclear scientists and public on the importance of improving safety standards in nuclear power plants but not to shun this energy option altogether.

Amano, who was re-elected the IAEA chief earlier this week will arrive in India on Monday for a five-day visit during which he would meet officials in Delhi and Mumbai besides giving the Indian Nuclear Society silver jubilee lecture in Mumbai on Monday.
Officials of the department of atomic energy and the Ministry of External Affairs, however, are tight-lipped on his programme.

On the second anniversary of Fukushima accident, Amano said IAEA’s 159 member states made significant progress in upgrading nuclear safety. “The worst elements of the accident are behind us and we are now in the post-accident phase,” he said.

“Two years have passed since disaster struck Japan. The great east Japan earthquake and the enormous tsunami of March 11, 2011, devastated large areas of land, caused great loss of human life, and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. I was deeply saddened by this tragedy in my homeland.” he said.

But lessons were learnt to make nuclear energy as safe as humanly possible, he said.
As a part of an IAEA initiative to review the safety standards of nuclear power plants, an IAEA’s Operational Safety Review Team reviewed Unit 3 and 4 of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station last November. It was the first ever OSART mission to India.

Review of mechanism

India may also invite IAEA to undertake a review of its regulatory system focusing on its ability to ensure safety of nuclear power plants.

The IAEA had expanded the expert peer reviews to operational safety of a country's nuclear power plants, effectiveness of its regulatory system and its emergency preparedness and response arrangements, Amano said in a statement before leaving for India.

Incidentally, one of the fallouts of Fukushima nuclear accident is two 1000 Mwe units of Kudankulam nuclear power plant, which are yet to start producing commercial electricity because of the anti-nuclear protests around the plant. The government continues to shift the deadline to make the two units operational.
The latest schedule has come from the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayansamy who informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that efforts were being made to attain criticality of Unit 1 at Kudankulam by March 2013.
DH News Service

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