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The first round of talks between India and Sri Lanka on comprehensive civil nuclear cooperation was held on Friday (12 October) in New Delhi.

A press conference was held at the ministry auditorium on Monday to inform the media on the outcome of the talks held in India. Minister Patali Champika stated that the first round of talks between India and Sri Lanka concluded by both parties unanimously agreed to implement safety measures in case of a nuclear accident at any of the two nuclear power plants established in India, which might have an impact on Sri Lanka.

He further added that measures have also been taken to establish the Atomic Energy Authority as a competitive organization in the international arena.

The Koodankulam nuclear power station could be named as the largest nuclear power plant in our zone, which had a power generation capacity of 6000 MW. The distance between the Koodankulam nuclear power station and the Kalpitiya coast is 225 Km. Any country that establishes a nuclear power station should adhere to the rules and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Authority. Hence there are three agreements  such as the Nuclear Safety agreement, the agreement on assistance in case of a nuclear disaster, and the agreement on notification of early warning of nuclear accidents. The minister pointed out that while there is a mutual understanding between the two countries with regard to nuclear safety, the Sri Lankan government had notified the Indian government several years ago of the need of having an agreement in this regard.

According to the early warning program in case of a nuclear accident issued by the Atomic Energy Authority, indicated in clause nine, it is possible to enter into a bilateral or multinational agreement. However

“We had informed India in May 2011 about our intention to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries based on Article 9 of the international convention on early notification of nuclear accidents,” he said.

Thereafter various informal discussions and exchanging of documents between two parties representing the countries took place while a formal discussion was held in New Delhi last week, Ranawaka said.

He said the talks included nuclear applications, technological assistance, technological transfers, capacity building of officials here, as well as nuclear safety and response to nuclear accidents, and  India had agreed to participate in this process.

He pointed out this is being carried out with the help of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), which will provide the island with an alarm system. Ranawaka said the alarm system will be installed and radiation levels will be measured along the coastal bed.

It was agreed the next round of discussions will be held in Sri Lanka in the first half of 2013.