New Delhi: Trashing reports of India building a secret nuclear city in Mysore and radioactive leaks at Jaduguda's uranium mines, top government officials on Tuesday termed them as "deliberate distortion of facts" and asserted the country's nuclear establishment followed high safety standards prescribed by the IAEA.
Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Atomic Energy also questioned the timing of a raft of articles in international publications questioning safety of India's nuclear installations at a time when it was working hard to gain entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
"The timing of these articles are suspect. This is a month when we have got our first consignment of uranium from Canada and have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan," a senior government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Speaking about Jaduguda uranium mines in Jharkhand, on which a series has been published by Centre for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism portal, a senior DAE official said the mine follows high safety standard and, even before operations commenced in the 1960s, Environmental Survey Laboratories were in place there.
"Every worker working in the mines is given a dosimeter," a DAE official said. A radiation dosimeter is a device that measures exposure to ionizing radiation.
It has two main uses: for human radiation protection and for measurement of dose in both medical and industrial processes.
The articles also questioned India's use of enriched uranium to power its nuclear submarines. "There is no agreement that bans use of enriched uranium for nuclear submarines. Globally, there is 300 MT of enriched uranium which is used for nuclear submarines, of which US alone has half, owing to its large fleet," a senior official said.
Officials also rubbished reports of India building a secret nuclear city in Mysore.
Sources said all security parameters are in place and the country uses a "multi-layer security" approach to protect its nuclear sites, which also deals with aspects like threats from insiders.
After 9/11 terror attack, Anil Kakodkar headed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s International Nuclear Safety Group's (INSG) came out with security measures to be followed by its nuclear installations. India too follows the same guidelines in securing its nuclear sites. Kakodkar was also the Secretary of DAE when the historic Indo-US nuclear deal was signed.
India and the US recently jointly conducted a seminar on 'Prevention and Protection of Insider's Threat', which was attended by 15 countries.
"India is party to major security conventions and this itself speaks about the our commitment to security of its nuclear establishments," the official said.