Five nuclear detector early warning systems have been installed across the country to alert the public on nuclear accidents, the Ministry of Power and Energy said yesterday. The ministry further stated that three more detectors are to be installed shortly.
The Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) stated that this measure is a timely measure as the Koodankulam nuclear power station in India is scheduled to commence operations in September.
The AEA had obtained 8 early warning systems from the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) at a cost of 72,000 Euros (over Rs. 12 million), in order to be prepared in the event the country is faced with a nuclear crisis.
The Atomic Energy Authority, Disaster Management Center and Sri Lanka Navy on June 28 signed a trilateral agreement regarding the setting up of the systems.
According to the agreement the early warning systems are to be placed at 6 navy camps, in the Western Province and center of the island and in the Kandy region. The main control center of the early warning systems will operate from the Atomic Energy Authority building in Orugodawatte.
Nuclear accidents have been identified by the disaster management centre as one of the disasters that require preparedness planning at the national level.
The Navy has agreed to provide cooperation and space to establish remote monitoring stations (RMS) in the naval bases in Kalpitiya, Thalai Mannar, Delf and Kankasanthurai initially. These bases have been identified to detect any increased background radiation levels arising from a nuclear accident that could happen in India or any country from the North Western and Nothern directions of Sri Lanka. In the second stage a few more RMS’s will be established in order to cover the entire island.