April 15, 2011
India says it is planning additional safety measures to protect the country’s nuclear plants from a crisis similar to that of Japan, where an earthquake and tsunami badly damaged nuclear facilities.
The head of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Shreyans Jain, said Thursday that assessors had inspected India’s 20 nuclear plants and found they were capable of handling natural disasters.
However, a task force suggested the implementation of new technology to ensure automatic reactor shutdown in case of an earthquake.
Other recommendations include setting up a tsunami alert mechanism, increasing water supplies for cooling and implementing additional shore protection measures.
India plans to invest $175 billion in dozens of new atomic reactors over the coming years so that nuclear energy supplies about a quarter of the country’s needs by 2050.
India’s civil nuclear market opened up in 2008, when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former U.S. President George W. Bush agreed to lift a 34-year-old U.S. ban on civilian nuclear trade with India. The ban was imposed after India conducted nuclear tests.
Since then, foreign companies have been vying for contracts to sell nuclear fuel and technology to India.