Highest priority to safety of nuclear plants: Patil

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Monday said the country will more than double nuclear power production by 2017 and added that the government accorded the highest priority to safety.

In her address to the joint session of parliament, Patil said the installed capacity of nuclear plants had risen to 4,780 MW and was set to further increase to 10,080 MW by the end of the 12th Plan (2012-17).
“The government attaches the highest priority to safety while harnessing nuclear energy, and will not compromise on safety or the livelihood of any section of society in the pursuit of our nuclear energy programme,” she said.
There have been protests by locals against nuclear power plants in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, and Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
She said that after the Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011, the government ordered technical reviews of all safety systems of nuclear power plants in the country.
“The reports were made public and their recommendations for enhancing safety are being implemented. The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill has been introduced in parliament,” she said.
Stressing that India’s rightful place in the comity of nations hinges on the country’s ability to achieve socio-economic transformation through scientific and technological excellence.
“The government will persevere in its efforts to increase the expenditure on Research & Development from one percent to two percent of GDP,” she said.
Talking about India’s space programme, Patil said: “The government pursued the utilisation of space technologies for national benefit. Several major satellite launches are planned for 2012, including India’s first microwave remote sensing satellite with all-weather imaging capability and India’s first navigational satellite.”