News / Asia

India Announces Plans for New Nuclear Safety Body

Activists from the Anti-Nuclear Struggles Solidarity Forum shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest against a planned nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in New Delhi, April 21, 2011.
Activists from the Anti-Nuclear Struggles Solidarity Forum shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest against a planned nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in New Delhi, April 21, 2011.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he will soon submit legislation to parliament on establishing a new organization to supervise nuclear safety in India.

It is one of several steps by the government aimed at calming public anxiety over a planned coastal nuclear complex some fear could produce a repeat of Japan's nuclear catastrophe.

India's government says the proposed new agency to supervise nuclear safety will take over the work of the country's existing Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, except that it will be autonomous and independent.

V. Narayanasamy, minister of state in the office of the Indian prime minister, announced the decision Tuesday.

"[The] government's intention is to ensure nuclear power that is safe, secure and economical," Narayanasamy said. "Against this background, the commitment to India's three stage indigenous nuclear power program was reaffirmed."

The announcement followed a meeting between Prime Minister Singh, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, and the chief minister of India's Maharashtra state, Prithviraj Chavan.

Last week, one person was killed in Maharashtra when recurring protests over a planned coastal nuclear park in Jaitapur turned violent.

The deal to build the nuclear park in Jaitapur was inked with a French company during French President Nicholas Sarkozy's visit to India in December. It envisions an eventual total of six reactors.

Indian officials say nuclear energy is a necessary and crucial building block in providing economic growth and basic services to millions of its citizens.

However, the recent nuclear disaster in Japan fueled opposition to the Jaitapur project on the grounds that it, too, is in an earthquake and tsunami prone area-- just like Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh says the government is planning a crucial design difference for the Jaitapur complex.

"Today, a very important decision has been taken, that in Jaitapur... each reactor will have a stand-alone safety system, a stand-alone dedicated operation and maintenance system. This is a very major step forward,"  Ramish said.

Press reports here in India quoted Ramesh on Saturday as saying it may be necessary to "press pause" on the Jaitapur project in the interest of safety. He downplayed those comments Tuesday. So, did Maharashtra Chief Minister Chavan, who offered assurances that nothing would be built in a rush.

"The first two units are expected to become operational in 2019. It's a long process. It's not that we'll switch on the reactors in one or two years. It's a long process which involves safety review. It's a long process," Chavan said.

The Jaitapur complex is likely to face continued opposition not only on safety grounds, but from local residents who say the complex will deprive them of their homes and livelihoods.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid