DAE amending Atomic Energy Act to enable pvt participation

Mumbai, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2006, 05:30am hrs
In a bid to encourage private investment, including from abroad, in the countrys ambitious nuclear power programme, the department of atomic energy (DAE) is amending a law that prohibits such activities.

We have been working on the possible amendments to the Indian Atomic Energy Act 1962 for the last five years, and now we are trying to speed up the process, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and secretary of DAE Anil Kakodkar told PTI here on Wednesday.

The amendments would enable and encourage private participation in the countrys nuclear programme in the form of investment, both from India and abroad, to generate 20,000 mw of power by 2020, he said.

We are also trying different elements (instruments) which would help in enhancing the statutory status of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which is very vital when we go in for private participation, he said. This is to further strengthen the hands of AERB in their regulatory and safety functions.

Since we are also part of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), the amendments in that regard will also be taken into account, Kakodkar said.

The private investors will have no right on nuclear material, and it is only the DAE that will have the right to protect the nuclear material.

Amending the atomic energy act is a process and is a complex issue and even after amending it has to be cleared on the floor of both the houses of parliament, Kakodkar said adding we have not fixed any time-frame for it.

Indian Atomic Anergy Act was in place in 1948 when the department of atomic energy was formed but it was later repealed and came into force as Atomic Energy Act of 1962 with different powers and delegation (section 27) is one of them.

The Act is to provide for the development, control and use of atomic energy for the welfare of people of India and other peaceful purposes and matters connected therewith. In 1971, under one of its guidelines, radiation protection rules were in place under the director, directorate of radiation protection, which was meant mainly for non-dae units/industries.

In 1983, under section 27 of the atomic energy act 1962, regulation and safety functions were delegated to the then newly formed Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.