New Delhi: Seeking to allay fears, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday told Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J
Jayalalithaa that the Centre will give full regard to "safety,
livelihood and security of the people" while implementing the
Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).
Singh, in a letter to the Jayalalithaa, listed out series
of safety measures and clearances obtained for KNPP and said
that he counted on her support in timely implementation of the
Pitching for pursuing the atomic power, he said, "Nuclear
energy is one option to enhance our energy security. The
Central Government will ensure that this is pursued with full
regard to the safety, livelihood and security of the people."
"For a large and fast growing economy like ours, and given
the volatility and uncertainty of international energy
markets, it is in our national interest that we tap all
sources of energy, and diversify our energy mix," he said.
Noting that "understandable concerns" were being expressed
about nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident, Singh said
the Centre was "fully alive" to it has sought to actively
reach out to local populations at different nuclear power
sites and to other sections of society to ally such fears.
"The safety track record of our nuclear power plants over
the past 335 reactor-years of operation has been good," he
said pointing out that he had ordered safety reviews of all
nuclear power plants after the Fukushima accident.
"While these safety reviews have reaffirmed our ability to
handle emergency situations, further recommendations have been
made to augment safety. All the recommendations are being
implemented," Singh said.
Singh said his government attached the highest importance
to ensuring that the use of nuclear energy in India met the
highest safety standards.
"We will not compromise on safety in the pursuit of our
nuclear energy programme, whether it is in terms of
technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency
preparedness. Nothing will be done that would threaten the
safety or livelihood of our people," he said.
Singh said the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited
has been in close contact with the local community at
Kudankulam for a decade now.
"A number of welfare projects have been implemented in the
areas of education, roads, drinking water, health and
community support. Local officials have also been kept fully
involved in these efforts," he said.
Singh said following the Fukushima accident, NPCIL has
enhanced its public awareness activities to address the
concerns of the local people, and to highlight the superior
safety features built into the Kudankulam reactors.
The Prime Minister said the Centre has also introduced the
Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill 2011 in Lok Sabha,
with the objective of setting up an autonomous and independent
regulatory authority that will subsume the current Atomic
Energy Regulatory Board.
"This Authority will ensure the highest standards of
safety based on scientific approach, operating experience and
best practices," Singh said.