India's 10 nuclear reactors with a total generation capacity of 1,940 MW have now put under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. This was after the BJP led NDA government last week has ratified the additional protocol, a commitment given under the Indo-US civil nuclear deal by the UPA government to grant greater access to the IAEA to monitor country's civilian atomic programme.
The list of nuclear reactors which have been put under IAEA safeguards include Tarapur, Maharashtra 1 & 2 (320 MW), Rawatbhata, Rajasthan 1 to 6 (1180 MW) and Kakrapar, Gujarat 1&2 (440 MW). These reactors, which are currently operating on imported fuel with plant load factor of 94%, are part of the country's total nuclear installed capacity of 4,780 MW. The remaining reactors with generation capacity of 2,840 MW have not yet been put under the IAEA safeguards. The state run Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) is currently operating these total 19 reactors with both indigenous and imported fuel.
The IAEA safeguards in the country are implemented in accordance with the agreement entered between Government of India and the IAEA.
NPC executive director (corporate planning) N Nagaich told Business Standard '' The purpose of IAEA's Safeguards system is to provide credible assurance to the international community that nuclear material and other specified items are not diverted from peaceful nuclear uses. The safeguards system consists of several, interrelated elements which include IAEA's statutory authority to establish and administer safeguards; the rights and obligations assumed in safeguards agreements and additional protocols; and the technical measures implemented pursuant to those agreements.''
Further, Nagaich said the the technical measures include inspections by IAEA which comprise examining facility records and comparing them with reports submitted by the country, verifying declared inventories and flows of nuclear material and certain non-nuclear material and equipment, applying containment and surveillance measures, confirming the absence of undeclared activities through the taking of environmental samples. These enable IAEA to independently verify the declarations made by countries about their nuclear material and activities.
According to another NPC official, the nature and scope of such declarations - and of the measures implemented to verify them depend on the safeguards agreement that a country has in force with the IAEA. In some countries, IAEA applies safeguards under agreements that cover only the nuclear material, facilities, equipment and/or materials specified in the agreement. India is one such country.