Government on Wednesday sought to allay concerns that the Indo-US talks may lead to dilution of India’s Nuclear Liability Act and asserted that the law has not been amended and the onus of any damages remains with the supplier.
Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh also assured members in the Lok Sabha that safety standrads in India’s nuclear plants were as good as anywhere in the world and in fact, “more than many other countries”.
“Overall, there is no amendment in the Act. The onus is still on the suppliers,” Singh said during the Question Hour.
Following the recent talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, both sides had claimed a “breakthrough” over the nuclear impasse.
The concerns were raised as the US firms were opposed to those aspects of the Nuclear Liability Act which hold the operator liable for any nuclear incident.
Responding to the concerns expressed by some members over radioactivity in nuclear plants and other safety-related issue including those concerned with local population in case of any incident, Singh said the government has enough evidence to prove that radioactivity emitted in plants is “negligible”.
“The rules and regulations are fully in line with the international norms… We are absolutely following all the safety measures, in fact, more than many countries,” he said.
Noting that India has adopted a closed fuel cycle where the spent fuel is regarded as a resource material and none of it is disposed of, the Minister said all the spent fuel is reprocessed to recover useful fissile and fertile materials to recycle back in the reactor as a fuel.
“There are no environmental repercussions due to spent- fuel generated from nuclear power plants in India,” he said.
Observing that these “useful fission products have societal applications”, Singh said these products, “separated from waste for their use in irradiators, have various applications in healthcare, agriculture and industry.”