Press Statement
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Reject Bill for Nuclear Safety Authority
The Prime Minister had promised to bring legislation to set-up an independent Nuclear Safety Authority. This came after the widespread apprehensions about the safety of nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
However, the Bill which has been introduced in the Lok Sabha – the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill – goes contrary to the assurance and seeks to set-up a body which is captive to the government.
The Bill seeks to establish a Council of Nuclear Safety which consists of the Prime Ministers, five or more Cabinet Ministers and the Cabinet Secretary and experts nominated by the Central government. It is this Council which will control and virtually direct the Regulatory Authority.
The Bill hedges the Regulatory Authority with various restrictions. One requirement is that the Authority should function in a manner that is consistent with the “international obligations of India”. This means that the Regulatory Authority will have to accept all imported nuclear plants and not question any features of the same which have been arrived through international agreements.   Thus, the Authority has to give post facto approval for all the imported reactors which the government has already committed to buy.
The Bill has an extraordinary clause that: “the Regulatory Authority shall not act against the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality”. This is an unprecedented directive which coerces and demands obedience from the Regulatory Authority.
The other objectionable feature of the Bill is the power of the Central government to remove the Chairperson, or, members of the Authority and to supersede the Regulatory Authority itself. Such powers will make the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority a tame instrument of the government.
By bringing such a Bill, the government has shown its utter disdain for the people’s genuine fears about safety in the nuclear sector.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the government scrap this Bill and bring fresh legislation to set up a genuinely independent nuclear safety regulatory authority.