Though discussions at various levels are happening on allowing private investment in the field of atomic energy in the past few years, no firm had so far approached the government with such a proposal, R. Battacharya, vice-chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), has said.
Speaking to reporters here on Monday, Mr. Battacharya, who was here to attend a seminar on ‘Department of Atomic Energy on community service,’ said that allowing private investments in the field of nuclear power generation was being debated for the past several years, but no private firm had approached the government with a formal proposal in this connection.
Though private majors were allowed to enter this crucial area, the AERB would impose the same rules and regulations applicable to the government agency (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited). Since the AERB would always accord highest priority for safety, it would never dilute its norms for any agency involved in nuclear power generation.
‘No’ for thorium business
Mr. Battacharya made it clear that no private firm had been allowed in the business of separating thorium from beach minerals.
Moreover, beach minerals with thorium could not be exported as it could easily be detected in the exit point owing to radioactivity,” Mr. Battacharya said.
Referring to accidents in nuclear installations, he said that the country, having nuclear reactors and research centres with highest safety standards, had not witnessed any accident with alarming magnitude.
While the nuclear accidents that had taken place in Fukushima or Chernobyl came under the category of Level 7 accidents, the mishaps that took place in India had been classified only as Level 3 or even below. “Of the 160 mishaps reported in the country, 150 were categorized as Level 0 and five as Level 1, which vouch for our safety standards,” Mr. Battacharya said.
He informed that the AERB had cleared the site for third and fourth reactors of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and the approval for construction would follow in due course.
Superintendent of Police Ashwin Kotnis said that the Department of Atomic Energy should clear the doubts in the minds of the public about nuclear energy so that they would accept it wholeheartedly.