The Hindu : Sci-Tech / Science : NRAI to be introduced in next parliament session: Menon
The tabling of a Bill to establish an independent Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India in the monsoon session of Parliament will pave the way for a significant expansion of the country’s nuclear power programme, National Security Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon, said on Friday.
Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award instituted by the Department of Atomic Energy to N. Srinivasan, Mr. Menon said the Bill would create the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India as an independent and autonomous organisation on nuclear issues.
Noting that the pioneering contributions of scientists like Mr. Srinivasan had taken India’s nuclear power programme to a stage where “we can hope to achieve bigger and better” and be ambitious in goals for the future, Mr. Menon said the world was now ready to work with India on terms of equality.
Hailing India’s nuclear power programme for its “outstanding safety record in 335 reactor years of operations”, Mr. Menon said nuclear energy remained a safe, secure and economical source of clean energy. Mr. Menon later left for Sri Lanka along with a team of Ministry of External Affairs’ officials led by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.
“NRAI will be similar to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, but it will function outside the control of the Atomic Energy Commission. But, we don’t know whether it will function directly under the Prime Minister,” a senior official of the Department of Atomic Energy, said
Mr. Menon later left for Sri Lanka along with a team of Ministry of External Affairs’ officials, including Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.
He is scheduled to meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakasa in Colombo on Friday. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had urged Mr. Menon when he called on her on Thursday, to take up the Lankan Tamils issue with Mr. Rajapakasa during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee said the first reactor at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant would go critical by August this year.
Asked why Kudankulam reactors were missing many deadlines for going critical, he said, “There were some issues with the cable layout. There was some fault in the cables. By August this year, the first reactor should go critical and by March 2012 the second reactor should go critical.” “Fuel from Russia is not the problem. We have already got the fuel and it is in Kudankulam,” Mr. Banerjee said.
Keywords: NRAI, Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India, National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board