New Delhi: The Indian government and nuclear establishment are on edge after the disaster in Japan. With 21 foreign reactors on order from all over the world the word from the top was urgent and insistent that nuclear power was safe and there was no danger from natural disasters to India's nuclear reactors and the country's safety record spoke for itself.
"Following the Bhuj earthquake the Kakrapar nuclear power station operated without interruption. Following the tsunami the Madras Atomic Power Station was very safely shut down without radiological contamination," said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In Mumbai former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar said the Jaitapur site for six nuclear power stations was seismically safe, rated at zone three. It was also safe from tsunamis.
"It will be way above the sea. The Department of Atomic Energy will obviously rethink crucial facets, after the Japanese experience. But the Jaitapur site is quite high up, we have plenty of scope to find work out solutions there," said Anil Kakodkar.
But others have their doubts. There have been six recorded accidents since 1987 at nuclear power stations, three of which involved leakage of radioactive iodine, radioactive helium and radioactive sodium.
"There have been near misses at Narora. Also the Kaiga dome which collapsed. Luckily they didn't result in a catastrophic incidents," said former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board chief Dr A Gopalakrishnan.
Scientists are also warning against plans for largescale import of foreign reactors. The European Pressurised Reactors of the French firm Areva comprise technologies that are unproven. American GE reactors have undergone partial meltdown in Japan's Fukushima plant.
Now the word from the critics is buy Indian and stay safe.