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IAEA team tours India nuclear plant after radiation leak via The Naitonal

JAIPUR // A team from the UN’s nuclear watchdog began a safety inspection yesterday at a power plant in northern India where dozens of workers were exposed to radiation in separate leaks this year.

The inspectors were touring the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station to “review the programmes and activities essential to plant operation based on the IAEA safety standards and on proven good practices”, said a statement by the watchdog.

The 12-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency was in India at the request of the government. The IAEA said it was the first time that New Delhi had issued such an invitation to the Vienna-based body.

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In a second incident in July, another four maintenance workers at the plant were exposed to tritium radiation while they were repairing a faulty seal on a pipe.

India is engaged in a drive for nuclear power, with a host of plants based on Russian, Japanese, American and French technology under consideration or construction.

The country’s growing economy is currently heavily dependent on coal, getting less than 3 per cent of its energy from its existing atomic plants, and the government hopes to raise the figure to 25 per cent by 2050.

But environmental watchdogs have expressed concerns about safety in India, where small-scale industrial accidents because of negligence or poor maintenance are commonplace and regulatory bodies are often understaffed and underfunded.

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