New Delhi: The Lok Sabha today passed the landmark “Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015”. The bill was passed with a voice vote from both treasury as well as opposition benches. It will now be referred to Rajya Sabha for ratification.
The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, thus paving the way for Atomic Energy Units, including Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to enter into joint-ventures with other Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and government sector companies. Expressing satisfaction over the passage of the Bill, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, the manner in which members of all political parties across the party-lines have come to support the amendments is a true homage to the legacy of Homi Bhabha, the founding father of India’s nuclear programme and also a vindication of Homi Bhabha’s vision for use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The amendments passed today will enable the nuclear expansion programme to move at a fast track and place India as a front-line nation in the world arena, he added.
Dr. Jitendra Singh said, during the last 18 months of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, there has been a series of agreements and MOUs to procure Uranium and other collaboration from different countries. But, when Indian PSUs like National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) came forward to support installation of our new nuclear projects, he said, it was realised that the existing Atomic Energy Act of 1962 did not allow for this. With the passage of today’s Bill, which will later be ratified by Rajya Sabha before it becomes a legislation, there will be a win-win situation for both the partners and even those of the PSUs or government companies, which are not directly dealing with nuclear power generation, will be able to become equity beneficiaries while NPCIL will be responsible for providing all the technical support and infrastructure, he added.
Allaying fears of any accident taking place as a result of setting up of new nuclear projects, the Minister assured the members of the House that adequate technical and cost effective viabilities as well as safeguards are worked out without going ahead with any new project. Referring to the infamous Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011 which resulted in panic, he said, there were certain inherent reasons for that accident which do not hold good in our context and moreover, the Indian projects are located at a safe distance away from the high seismic zone.
Responding to queries about Civil Liability Nuclear Damage Act (CLND Act), he said, there have been no amendments in its rules and the interests of the victims are paramount in the eventuality of any accident.
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