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India's commitment to nuclear safety is strong: IAEA

Indias commitment to nuclear safety is strong: IAEA

Mumbai: The International Atomic Energy Agency's experts reviewing India's regulatory framework for nuclear power plants on Friday praised the "strong commitment to safety in India", as the country's dedicated regulatory body pledged to carry out further improvements as suggested by the team.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team said that nuclear power generation in India is expected to increase significantly over the next decade.

"The IRRS team concluded that there is a strong commitment to safety in India," an IAEA statement quoted team leader Ramzi Jammal, executive vice president and chief regulatory operations officer at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, as saying.

"India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is an experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated regulatory body for the protection of the public and the environment," he added.

The regulatory board, Jammal said, "continues to enhance its regulatory programme to face the current and future challenges in regulating nuclear safety, such as reinforcing the safety of existing nuclear facilities, monitoring ageing and decommissioning, as well as providing oversight of the construction, commissioning and operation of new nuclear power plants".

India had invited the review, which included interviews and discussions with regulatory staff and site visits to observe inspections. The mission team compared the Indian regulatory framework for nuclear safety with IAEA safety standards.

But the 12-day peer review mission also cautioned that the country must maintain sufficient regulatory oversight of both operating nuclear power plants and those under construction.

"The acknowledgement of the effectiveness of India's safety regulation in the outcome of this IRRS mission has renewed AERB's resolve and commitment for ensuring a high level of safety in the facilities and activities. AERB is committed to pursuing the improvements suggested by the mission towards further strengthening the regulatory framework," AERB chairman S.S. Bajaj said.

India has 21 operating nuclear power reactors and seven under construction. The review of other uses of nuclear materials and radioactive sources were not within the scope of this IRRS mission.

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