Sri Lanka has denied that it brought up the issue of safety of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu because it is angry with India for voting against it at the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March.
“The insinuation in a section of the Indian media that our request for a MoU on nuclear disaster management stems from anger over India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, is completely baseless and misleading,” said Dr Ranjith Wijayawardane, chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka.
“Perhaps the Indian media is not aware that Colombo had approached New Delhi for an MoU on nuclear disaster management two years ago, when it was clear that the Indian government would go ahead with the plant at Koodankulam,” Wijayawardane told Express. He said Energy Minister Champika Ranawakka was “very disappointed” when he heard about the motives attributed by a section of the Indian media.
Asked if he could confirm Ranawakka’s statement that Lanka would take up this issue of safety of the Koodankulam plant at the September session of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Wijayawardane said that the Lankan government was going to discuss something very broad, namely, IAEA’s help to meet any nuclear disaster, not just at Koodankulam.
Asked why Lanka needed to sign an MoU with India, when India had assured that the Koodankulam plant was safe, Wijayawardane said that bilateral agreements meant to facilitate international cooperation during a nuclear accident or disaster were allowed under international conventions on disaster management. But such bilateral MoUs were not mandatory, he clarified. (Express Buzz)