In what may provide some measure of reassurance to those raising doubts about the safety of the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra post the Fukushima disaster, the French authorities here say that they would like to set up a meeting with India under the aegis of the G-20 — France currently chairs this group of which India is a member — to discuss the issue of nuclear safety and what the regulations for it should be.
Saying that it would like to have a meeting with other G-20 members as well to discuss the issue of nuclear safety, French authorities here say that there is a need to have a system in place whereby everybody follows the same rules and regulations on nuke safety.
As for India, officials here say that where civil nuclear energy, it’s safety and security is concerned, the country remains an important partner for France.
Stating that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be associated in the discussions, authorities here say that they will be aiming for a a system wherein all countries have the same regulations and rules in the post-Fukushima world.
The initial two European pressurised water reactors (EPRs) in Jaitapur are to be built by the French state-owned company Areva. While the framework agreement has been signed between India and France, negotiations for the commercial agreement are still on. As for India’s nuke liability laws with a stringent clause for suppliers, the French are hoping for a “mutually acceptable solution” regarding its parameters.
Senior French government officials say that the events in Fukushima have had a worldwide impact as far as safety issues concerning nuclear plants are concerned.
With France safety authorities already having ordered a review of safety standards at the country’s numerous nuclear power plants, officials here acknowledge that “safety issues will have to be at the core of every single co-operation programme for nuclear power that France has worldwide”.
At the same time, they assert, “safety is our trade-mark”.
It’s noteworthy that India’s minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh on Saturday suggested a “pause” for the Jaitapur project in Maharashtra till a transparent nuclear policy is formulated.
Mr Jairam Ramesh is reported to have said that while the proposed project on Jaitapur cannot be abandoned, a pause is the best option until the formulation of a transparent nuclear policy. Asian Age