As France starts investigation into nuclear safety fraud, India must rethink Jaitapur

This week, the French nuclear safety regulator ASN has initiated probe after receiving warnings from whistle-blowers. It should act as an awakening call for the Indian government not only to begin an independent and broad-based investigation on the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, but also expedite the long-pending process of setting up an independent nuclear sfaety regulator. Former Union Secretary Dr. EAS Sarma has written an open letter to the AEC and the AERB in this regard, that we are sharing below –

Shri Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas
Atomic Energy Commission

Shri G Nageshwara Rao
Dear S/Shri Vyas/ Rao,

I refer to my letter dated 12-1-2019 addressed to the Prime Minister on doubts about the safety of nuclear reactors to be supplied by EDF/Areva of France for Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra. In the absence of any response, I am forced to draw the inevitable inference that neither DAE nor AERB has cared to address this concern.

I refer to a Reuters report (“French regulator starts investigation into nuclear safety fraud”) that appeared today that indicates how the French nuclear regulatory authority, instead of brushing aside the complaints, has undertaken a thorough investigation in order to ensure the safety of the reactors supplied in France by AREVA/ EDF, the State nuclear power companies.

Considering that DAE has dragged its feet on setting up an independent nuclear regulatory authority of our own for more than eight years since the Fukushima disaster, as a concerned citizen, I feel that DAE/ AERB have not dealt with this concern adequately, knowing well that the fraud that has come to the notice of the French regulator could lead to a potential accident in India, when the same companies supply reactors for Jaitapur nuclear power project.

It is all the more disappointing that DAE, functioning under the direct purview of no other than the Prime Minister himself, should treat this matter somewhat casually!

May I request you to issue a public notification and take into confidence the public at large, especially those living close to Jaitapur?


Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to GOI



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