Officials from the nuclear energy establishments in India and Sri Lanka will be meeting in New Delhi between July 9 and 15 to discuss nuclear safety and disaster management, in the light of the on-going stir against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in TN and the concerns expressed by environmentalists in Lanka about the plant.
Dr Ranjith Wijayawardane, chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) of Sri Lanka, told Express here on Sunday that scientists from the two countries would be discussing a draft bilateral agreement on tackling nuclear disasters.
“We had submitted a proposal for bilateral cooperation about two years ago, but no progress was made. After Champika Ranawakka took over as Power Minister he re-activated it. A few months ago, a modified draft of the original document was sent to India. The Indians got back to us saying that they were ready to meet us. It has been tentatively agreed that we should meet between July 9 and 15,” he said.
Sharing Info on Safety
Asked to comment on a Lankan media report which said that discharges from the Kudankulam and Kalpakkam nuclear plants would pollute the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean threatening Sri Lanka also, Wijayawardane said that there was no need for alarm because the Indians would adhere to the established safety standards.
He pointed out that there were 20 nuclear plants in India which were adhering to the well establishment safety standards. International standards for the safe disposal of nuclear waste were also being followed.
However, the Sri Lankan delegation would request the Indians to share with them the safety measures that they had taken in the Koodankulam and other plants of interest to the island nation, Wijayawadane said.
Sri Lanka has established a radioactive monitoring system, especially along the North Western coast, with the help of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is now in the process of increasing its capacity. Since the only possible source of a nuclear radiation threat could be Koodankulam, the IAEA advised Lanka to go in for a bilateral agreement with India on managing any disaster, he said.
India Ready To Share
Initially, the Indians were not responsive. But given the adverse propaganda being carried out by the Peoples’ Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), New Delhi has started feeling the need to ally Lankan fears.