Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha during the question hour that the government is serious about nuclear energy programmes but is also committed to ensure maintaining their safety standards.
The minister said the government is planning to set up plants in north India as “something like that has been lacking in the region”.
Such nuclear power plants could come up in states like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, he said.
“However, there are also issues, as basic requirements like water and land have to be made available”.
Replying to supplementary questions from Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi on the leak in unit one of Kakrapar atomic power station in Gujarat, the minister said the incident in the plant was “more of an anomaly” and thus could be called an “incident” and not an accident per se.
“I am not saying this, the international standard of measurement of accidents is saying so,” he said and suggested that “there was no need for being an alarmist” on the issue.
Gogoi, however, said the government needs to draw lessons from such incidents as small incidents are only indications of “potential accidents”.
The minister countered him by saying things are taken seriously and already two committees — one by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the other by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) — are probing the incident.
“The investigation to identify the leak has been taken up by Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. As per the prevailing practice, the lessons and recommendations that would emerge from the investigation would be suitably incorporated,” he said.
On March 11, a leak detected from the coolant system in the Kakrapar Atomic Power station (KAPS), an indigenously built Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).
It was commissioned in May 1993 with a capacity of 220 MW.
The plant generates about 4 per cent of country’s nuclear power.