New Delhi: Amid growing concerns over the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday raised questions over the establishment of 10K MW nuclear plant in Jaitapur. 

He also pressed for impartial investigation into the safety measures adopted in India for nuclear plants. For this he advocated the separation of Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) from Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

Ramesh, however, said he was not making a case for the country to abandon nuclear power forever.

Terming as "horrendous" what happened to Japan's nuclear safety in the aftermath of devastating earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11, Ramesh said, "We cannot dismiss the importance of nuclear energy for India but we have to draw the appropriate lesson from Japan’s nuke catastrophe."

"I think we have to pause a little, we have to look at the safety system. We have to review the preparedness for emergencies like tsunamis and so on," Ramesh said on the sidelines of a programme here.

Meanwhile, former AERB chief A Gopalakrishnan accused the PMO of not letting the Board act independently and said it was forced to act according to the PMO’s advice.

Questioning the reactor design for Jaipatur plant by French company Areva, AERB chief Gopalkrishnan said, “Jaitapur should not be made a ground for experiment. It should be properly reviewed.” He further raised questions on the government’s decision to make 650 reactors.  

Prior to this, Ramesh clearly stated that the Jaitapur project is not just a plant, it is a nuclear energy park. “Taking into Fukushima nuclear tragedy into account, we should reconsider if we really want 10K MW capability in one place or following old Indian nuclear programme we should go for redistribution of energy and plant small nuclear projects in different places,” Ramesh added.  

JPN/ Bureau