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NRAI to be introduced in next parliament session

Chennai: National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Friday said a bill to create the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India will be tabled in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament.

"The government is taking steps to introduce a bill on Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India in the next session," Menon said here.

NRAI will be an "independent and autonomous organisation" on nuclear issues, he said.

Emphasising the "outstanding safety performance in the 375 reactor years" in India, Menon said nuclear energy remained an economical source of clean energy.

"NRAI will be similar to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, but it will function outside the control of the Atomic Energy Commission. But, we don`t know whether it will function directly under the Prime Minister," a senior official of the Department of Atomic Energy, said

Menon later left for Sri Lanka along with a team of Ministry of External Affairs` officials, including Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

He is scheduled to meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakasa in Colombo today. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had urged Menon when he called on her yesterday, to take up the Lankan Tamils issue with Rajapakasa during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee said the first reactor at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant would go critical by August this year.

Asked why Kudankulam reactors were missing many deadlines for going critical, he said, "There were some issues with the cable layout. There was some fault in the cables. By August this year, the first reactor should go critical and by March 2012 the second reactor should go critical."

"Fuel from Russia is not the problem. We have already got the fuel and it is in Kudankulam," Banerjee said.

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