Government orders safety review of all N-plants in India

The government has instructed the Department of Atomic Energy and its agencies, including the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, to undertake an immediate technical review of all safety systems of the country's nuclear power plants, particularly with a view to ensuring that they would be able to withstand the impact of large natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes, prime minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament today.

India currently operates 20 nuclear power reactors, of which 18 are indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors while two reactors at Tarapur - TAPS-1 and 2 - are boiling water reactors, of the type being operated in Japan, the prime minister said.

He said the Department of Atomic Energy has recently undertaken a safety audit of these reactors.

While Indian nuclear plants have in the past met their safety standards, he said, the government is not taking any chances.

The Kakrapar Atomic Power Station continued to operate safely without interruption following the earthquake in Bhuj on 26 January 2002 while the Madras Atomic Power Station was safely shut down without any radiological consequences following the 2004 tsunami. The plant was restarted in a few days after regulatory review, he noted.

The prime minister also joined the nation in conveying its deepest condolences for loss of life and destruction in Japan.

"India stands in full solidarity with the people of Japan, and our resources are at the disposal of Japan for any assistance they may require," he said.