Chennai, July 7 (IANS) India's apex disaster management authority has not framed any policy on training people in safety drills or other such exercises in an area, before commissioning a nuclear power plant, an anti-nuclear project activist said Saturday citing an RTI reply.
Replying to a query raised by the coordinator of People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) S.P. Udayakumar last month under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in its July 3 reply said: "...there is no policy made by NDMA about preparing the local project affected people before commissioning a nuclear power plant anywhere in the country."
Referring to NDMA's publication Management of Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies, 2009, Udayakumar, in his letter to the authority, said the guideline does not discuss the pre commissioning safety drills and evacuation drills that must be administered to local people within 30 km radius of the project.
If fire drills were conducted in all the schools and movie theatres all over the country, should not they be conducted in every village and town in the 30 km radius of a nuclear plantbefore commissioning the project, Udayakumar asked in his RTI application.
His application sought information on NDMA's policy on preparing the local people before commissioning a nuclear power plant.
Speaking to IANS, Udayakumar said: "There should be a policy on preventive safety measures with NDMA."
To prevent any untoward disaster, in my opinion, NDMA should also be a part of the site selection committee for nuclear power plants, M.Pushparayan, another PMANE leader, told IANS.
PMANE has been spearheading the agitation against the setting up of two 1,000 (megawatts) MW nuclear power reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district around 650 km from here by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
Early last month, the NPCIL and the Tirunelveli district administration carried out an off site emergency exercise as per regulatory requirementat in Nakkanery village, around seven km from the plant.
However, anti KNPP protestors termed the safety drill as a sham and a deceptive exercise.
PMANE has been demanding conduct of safety drills at all the villages lying within 30 km radius of the plant as there is also a possibility of nuclear disaster happening at the time of commissioning the reactor.