Saturday, March 19, 2011

India should learn from Japan episode: Jairam Ramesh

2011-03-18 17:40:00

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) India is not prepared to abandon nuclear power as a source of energy, but should definitely take lesson from the nuclear disaster in Japan and review its safety structures, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said Friday.
'Nuclear energy contributes to three percent of our electricity supply and that's planned to grow to six percent by the year 2020 and to about 13 percent by 2030. We cannot envisage a situation where India should say unilaterally that we are going to put a complete ban on the use of nuclear energy. That is an unrealistic position to take,' Ramesh said at the India Today conclave in the capital.

'Let us look at our safety structures, let us learn from what has happened in Japan, let's certainly get (feedback) from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on radioactive waste management issues, then certainly we should make those improvements,' he added.

Ramesh said that appropriate lessons should be taken from the unfolding crisis in Japan.
'In Japan, 30 percent of the electricity supply comes from nuclear energy. I don't think it's time for us to push the rewind button or the fast forward or stop button, we should just push the pause button. I think it's time to review our preparedness to face situation like a tsunami and then move on,' he said.

'We have to do a thorough, independent, professional audit of our systems. We have to see how well the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is equipped. I have set up an expert group in the environment ministry to look at our state of preparedness to tackle tsunami kind of situation as part of environmental impact assessment,' he added.

Japan has been reeling under an unfolding nuclear crisis after the Fukushima nuclear plant facility was damaged due to last week's magnitude-9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami in which more than 6,000 people have been confirmed dead so far.

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