Following the Fukushima nuclear accident, India has enhanced safety of nuclear power plants: R.K. Sinha
In the post-Fukushima world, India remains committed to expanding the role of nuclear energy in economic growth while enhancing the safety of its reactors, R.K. Sinha, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, said addressing the 2013 International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century on Friday.
“The constraint of depleting reserves of fossil fuels, leave alone the sheer enormity of the quantities of coal required, taken along with the need to shift to low carbon energy sources for addressing the global warming related concerns, would drive the options that could meet the Indian energy needs in future,” said Dr. Sinha. “It is here that nuclear energy becomes a very important option.”
Following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, India has taken “necessary measures to further augment safety of our operating nuclear power plants under extreme external events,” Dr. Sinha said.
“India, as one of the leaders in nuclear technology, remains committed to the highest levels of safety in its NPPs and in the associated fuel cycle facilities,” he assured the conference.
At the same time, the Atomic Energy Commission chief drew attention to the “practically insignificant” impact of the Fukushima accident on the health of the population in the affected regions, as testified by the World Health Organisation.
In this context, he reiterated, it is “absolutely essential” to adequately explain to the public and decision-makers “the extremely large margins of safety inherent in the prescribed permissible radiation dose limits.” This would help work out “more rational, science-based criteria for post-accident evaluation, and restrictions on land use in contaminated areas.”
Dr. Sinha said that there was no shift in India’s policy on nuclear power.
This policy “is based on the utilisation of India’s nuclear resources of modest uranium and abundant thorium [reserves], through the closed fuel cycle option, and the three-stage programme, aimed at large-scale deployment of thorium in the long term.”