New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s effort to make India a hub of nuclear energy seems to be a distant dream as voices of opposition are increasing over the nuke plants being set up at Kudankulam, Haripur, Jaitapur and Kovvada. The latest one in this series is of former Power Secretary and Energy Advisor to Planning Commission EAS Sarma.

Sarma has questioned the functioning of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) besides opposing former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s statement that nuke plant being set up at Kudankulam is fully secure. He said the way Kalam has stated that nuke energy is 100 percent safe is not correct.

Talking to Dainik Jagran, former Energy Advisor said, “The NPCIL has implemented zoning system in Kovvada under the ambit of 16 km and tests for emergency situation is also being conducted. But the locals have been kept in dark.”

The transparency of NPCIL in safety standard can be gauzed from the fact that no safety audit has been made public for the last 15 years.

Putting the existing nuclear safety system in dock, former Energy Advisor said, “The Prime Minister headed Nuclear Safety Authority will provide no solution to the problem.”

“No solution will emerge unless the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is bifurcated from the Atomic Energy Department and given a separate autonomous status,” he added.

In order to ensure the safety standards of atomic monitoring body, Sarma said, it should be made accountable only to the Parliament.

It is worth mentioning that the PM is the ex-officio Chairman of the newly constituted NSA and he also heads the Atomic Energy Department.