New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday reviewed India's atomic disaster preparedness in the wake of Japan nuke crisis at a high level meeting here.

Chairing a special meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Singh tasked it to put in place the world's best possible safety precautions and procedures at nuclear plants, sources said.

The meeting discussed various steps to meet nuclear disasters.

These include fast-tracking of creation of disaster response forces in places in addition to existing four and procurement of special radiation-detection vehicles.

At the meeting, the Prime Minister reviewed the nuclear safety issues being looked after by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and Department of Atomic Energy, sources said.

Singh also took stock of guidelines of management of nuclear and radiological emergencies issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Among the various steps to be considered as part of the chemical, biological, radiological nuclear response and rescue preparedness is a project for installation of 'dosi-meters' in 1000 police stations in 35 cities having more than one million
population.

Veterans give suggestions ahead of Vienna conference on n-safety

An informal group of global veterans on nuclear safety today advocated for a nuclear power that poses no threat to the health and safety of population and environment which will only be acceptable to society.

As a continuation of their open statement 'Never Again' of April 4 to the Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear safety veterans on Wednesday placed their suggestions ahead of the ministerial conference on Nuclear Safety to be convened in Vienna from June 20 to 24.

Achieving the goal of nuclear safety requires nuclear power industry redoubling its efforts to assure that there are no more accidents with such a large offsite releases of radioactivity as in cases of Chernobyl and Fukushima, they said.

The suggestions made by the experts included reassessing the design-basis assumptions for both new and existing nuclear plants and of plant response to severe accidents that cause extensive reactor damage.

They also suggested implementation of effective on-site accident management strategies, reassessing the capabilities for off-site emergency management including safety culture and quality of safety management, approaching old and new nuclear power plants, deriving ways to strengthen international safety regime and better ways to inform media and the public on the severity of any such accident.

The experts said that the application of the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) to the Fukushima accident did not realise its main objective to provide
accurate, intelligible public information on the severity of the accident.

"We believe that it is necessary to review and probably revise INES so that the media and the public may have better information on the possible health hazards from any future radioactivity releases," they said.

Moreover, the skills required to communicate the effects of accidental radioactivity releases need further development so that the public can be provided with correct
and easily understandable information and objective explanations of how such hazards relate to other health hazards, they said.

Those who helped formulating the statement  included Anil Kakodkar,  Former member, INSAG, former chairman, Atomic Energy Commission ,India ,Dr M R Srinivasan, former Chairman Atomic Energy Commission from India,  Adolf Birkhofer Germany Professor Emeritus, Technical University of Munich; former member and chair, INSAG; former chair, German Reactor Safety Commission; former chair, Committee on Safety of Nuclear Installations of OECD, Agustin Alonso Spain Professor Emeritus, Technical University of Madrid, former member, INSAG; former director and former commissioner of Spanish Regulatory Institution; vice chair, Committee on Safety of Nuclear Installations of OECD, Vladimir Asmolov, Russia Former deputy minister of the Russian Federation for atomic energy; former coordinating director of Kurchatov Institute; current INSAG member; first deputy director general of Rosenergoatom; electing chairman of WANO, KunMo Republic of Korea Former member, INSAG; former minister, Science & Technology, Republic of Korea; former president, Korean Academy of Science & Technology.

Agencies