Experts to conduct plant tours, job observations and interact with plant personnel

A 12-member team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan on Monday for carrying out an in-depth safety review of two units of the atomic power station in the town. This is the first operational safety review team (OSART) mission in the country being conducted at the Union government’s request.

The team comprises experts from the nuclear power plants of Canada, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. The OSART mission will stay at the Rawatbhata plant till November 15. The review will check adherence to the nuclear regulator’s safety standards and proven good practices.

A Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) release said here that the experts would have plant tours and interact with the personnel. The NPCIL looked forward to receiving “transparent and constructive” feedback, stated the release.

Significantly, this is the first such review in India after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year. Concerns have been expressed at the top level about the safety of nuclear plants in the country in the wake of the damage caused in Fukushima.

The release said the IAEA had been conducting the OSART missions since 1982 and had organised 170 missions around the world so far. Units 3 and 4 of the Rawatbhata plant have been selected for the OSART mission. Rawatbhata is situated in Chittorgarh district, 322 km from here.

The Rawatbhata atomic power station — comprising eight units, including two units of 700 MW each under construction — is at present generating 1,140 MW power. The two units selected for the OSART mission had earlier undergone peer review from the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in 2003 and 2009.