New Delhi: Concerned over the impact of radiation leak incident in Mayapuri and catastrophe of nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan, the Central government has decided to hand over the command of nuclear security in hands of Prime Minister.

For this the Centre would form a high-level Security Council headed by the Prime Minister which would oversee and review policies with respect to radiation and nuclear safety and other related matters in the country. And to help the council, the process has also begun to form a Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority.

This high-level mechanism for protecting nuclear accidents is being formulated for the first time in India.

In this regard, a special bill has been sent to the Union Cabinet for its approval. The law includes five years of imprisonment with penalty to those responsible for nuclear threats and mishaps. However, given the magnitude of the dangers the punishment set is lighter, which can be the reason of debate in the Cabinet.

After nuclear mishap in Delhi last year, the government had swung into action to make necessary arrangements but the initiative gained momentum only after Japan's Fukushima incident.

On March 14, 2011, the Government in Parliament made a statement on protection from nuclear hazards. After that, the bill was prepared expeditiously.

Last week, the Atomic Energy Department which comes under the Prime Minister’s office has sent the bill for the Cabinet’s approval.

According to sources, a two-tier system is being made for the protection from nuclear threats and mishaps. The Nuclear Safety Council would be a political institution, whereas Authority would be the administrative body.

The Safety Council headed by the Prime Minster would include Minister of Environment, Foreign Affairs, Health, Home, Science and Technology along with the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and the members.

However, the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority would have the position of Chairman, two full-time and four part-time members. This body would take technical and administrative measures to prevent the dangers of radiation. The tenure of the Chairman and the members shall be for three years.

After the formation of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board will be dissolved and its officials would be accommodated in the new authority.

The Nuclear Security Council would also constitute the Appellate Authority which would hear the security related disputes.

JPN/Bureau