Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday directed the Department of Atomic Energy and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to upgrade safety measures at the nuclear facilities in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis.
At a special meeting to review the country's disaster preparedness in the light of the disasters the tsunami caused in Japan in March, Dr. Singh, who is also Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), asked the two agencies to look at Beyond Design Basis Accident. (The technical phrase connotes factoring in accident sequences that are possible but were not fully considered in the design process).
Dr. Singh also reviewed the earthquake and tsunami preparedness and desired that the guidelines the NDMA formulated be made into action plans by the ministries/departments at the Centre and also the State governments. The NDMA was directed to proactively follow up the issue with agencies concerned.
NDMA vice-chairman M. Shashidhar Reddy said that as part of the chemical, biological, radiological nuclear response and rescue preparedness, the Authority was working on a project for installation of ‘dosi-meters' (to measure exposure to environment hazards) in 1,000 police stations in 35 cities with more than one million population.
To cope with radiological emergencies, the NDMA was asked to suggest measures for prevention and detection of, and response to, radiation emergencies. Its recommendations were accepted by the Committee of Secretaries in October.
Based on these and various guidelines brought out by the NDMA, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was identified as the nodal Ministry. A task force formed by the Ministry prepared a road map covering assessment of the capacities and an action plan for enhanced medical preparedness.