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Secrecy and inadequacy in India’s nuclear regulation

in-bedflag-indiaINADEQUACY of Indian Nuclear Regulation Manifest in Reactor Accident IEEE Spectrum,  By Bill Sweet
 29 Aug 2013 It is no secret that India still lacks a politically independent nuclear oversight authority that is well separated from the industry it oversees. The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was a recent reminder of just how important it is to have independent nuclear oversight, a lesson already driven home a generation before by the serious U.S. accident at Three Mile Island (TMI). The stubborn refusal of India’s government to set up the kind of regulatory authority that is so obviously needed means, in effect, that one cannot have real confidence in a nuclear program that could in principle be one of the world’s most important.

A telling but little-known and little-discussed example of what can happen under weak regulatory circumstances was a serious accident that took place at India’s Narora reactor in March 1993,, an incident that “came close to joining Chernobyl and Fukushima in the annals of industrial civilization,” as writer Madhusree Mukerjee put it in a recent review of M.V. Ramana’s The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Power in India (Penguin/Viking, 2012)……….

From its earliest inception, as Mukerjee spells out in her review, India’s Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) have reported directly to the prime minister, enabling them to function largely in secrecy. Thus, when it comes to nuclear safety, “DAE never shares its emergency plans with locals,” “does not reveal the health records of its workers,” “does not even monitor the health of temporary workers,” and “never reveals the quantities of radioactive substances released into the environment by accidents or routine operations.”

August 31, 2013 - Posted by | India, safety

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