Kudankulam one of safest reactors, Lanka's fears unfounded: India's nuclear chief

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Srikumar Banerjee

New Delhi:  The chief of India's nuclear energy program, Dr Srikumar Banerjee, has said that Sri Lanka's fears over the nuclear plant in Kudankulam are unfounded. Mr Banerjee has also asserted that the plant, located in Tamil Nadu, has one of the world's safest reactors.

"There should be no concerns on safety. The safety analysis of the plant is complete. Kudankulam has one of the world's safest nuclear reactors," Mr Banerjee told NDTV. He added that "India has already inked an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) convention that provides a frame work for addressing trans-boundary concerns if an accident happens. India's nuclear liability law also addresses these concerns." Mr Banerjee is the Chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission.

Earlier this week, Sri Lanka had raised concerns over possible radiation threat from Kudankulam nuclear reactors. A Sri Lankan minister also stated that his country would raise the issue with global atomic watchdog - the IAEA - in September.

"We respect the right of India to have nuclear power stations. But our concerns are on the possible radiation effects they could have on Sri Lanka," the country's Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said.

The Kudankulam nuclear plant is located 250 kilometres from Sri Lanka's northwest coastal town of Mannar. The project in coastal Tamil Nadu will upon completion be India's largest atomic power plant.

Sri Lanka's complaint to IAEA is being seen as an attempt to get back at India for its recent vote against Lanka on a UN resolution that stressed the need for the island to fix accountability for human rights violations and alleged war crimes.

The Rs 13-000 crore plant, being built with the help of the Russians, will see two reactors being commissioned within months of each other. When it's completed, six reactors will generate unprecedented power supply for the state.

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