Oct 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka will institute a nuclear disaster management action plan regardless of an agreement signed between Sri Lanka and India over nuclear cooperation, Power and Energy Minister of Sri Lanka Champika Ranawaka said today.
Addressing a press conference in Colombo today (15) following the conclusion of talks with India on nuclear safety and cooperation, Ranawaka said that measures are needed to be prepared for an action plan in the event of a nuclear accident or radiological emergency.
He pointed out that the government's duty was to protect its people while India had the sovereign right to set up a nuclear plant.
"We are duty-bound to protect our people. We are doing that so no one can question it," he said.
Sri Lanka and India on Friday (October 12) held the first round of talks between the two countries on comprehensive civil nuclear cooperation in New Delhi and agreed to strengthen bilateral nuclear cooperation.
Ranawaka noted that the Sri Lankan government had informed India in May 2011 about the need to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries based on Article 9 of the 2nd Convention on the early notification of nuclear accidents.
The talks between Sri Lanka and India had been based on nuclear applications, technological assistance, technological transfers, capacity building of officials in Sri Lanka about the nuclear safety, and response to nuclear accidents with the participation of Indian authorities.
Sri Lanka has raised concerns over the commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district which is only 250 kilometers from Sri Lanka's northwestern coastal town of Mannar.
Responding to concerns India has assured that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a state-of-the-art plant that is compliant with the highest safety standards available in the nuclear industry and the safety measures instituted at the plant are of the highest order.
Minister Ranawaka said that Sri Lanka will install an alarm system provided by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) and measure radiation levels along the coastal line.
The next round of talks with India on nuclear safety will be held in Colombo in the first half of next year.