India to ask IAEA for review of its nuclear regulatory process
New Delhi: India is planning to approach the global atomic watchdog IAEA for a review of its nuclear regulatory process which has come under severe criticism from the government auditor and activists.
"Preparation and planning for inviting IAEA's Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) for peer review of our regulatory system is also in progress," Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Ratan Kumar Sinha said at the 56th General Conference of IAEA in Vienna.
Sinha said India would approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in "due course" with a request to undertake a review of the regulatory systems at nuclear plants under international safeguards.
India had announced the IRRS and Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) mission as part of measures to instill public confidence in nuclear energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The IRRS involves comparing national regulatory framework against regulatory safety standards and nuclear security guidance documents developed by the IAEA, as well as against international legal instruments.
The first OSART mission is planned between October 29 and November 15 at the units 3&4 of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) at Rawat Bhata.
Sinha told the gathering of top nuclear scientists and administrators that India would soon commission the first 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project which is being developed with Russian collaboration.
He said construction of four indigenously designed 700 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors - two each at existing sites of Kakrapar in Gujarat and Rawatbhata in Rajasthan - is on schedule and these will be progressively completed by 2017.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a recent report, had dubbed AERB as a weak regulator which had failed to prepare a nuclear safety policy for India in the three decades of its existence.