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India says nuclear terrorism a 'continuing concern'

India expresses 'continuing concern' about nuclear terrorism ahead of Seoul's summit to discuss the threat from nuclear-armed terrorists

AFP, Saturday 24 Mar 2012
Tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is seen in Fukushima prefecture, March 11, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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India, which is rapidly expanding its atomic power programme, said Saturday that nuclear terrorism is a "continuing concern" ahead of a summit on atomic safety to be held next week in Seoul.

The summit will focus on the threat from nuclear-armed terrorists and follows one in Washington convened by US President Barack Obama in 2010 on the same subject.

Nuclear terrorism "remains a continuing concern," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said as he left for the two-day summit which opens on Monday in the South Korean capital.

Coal-dependent India is one of the few countries in the world that is seeking to increase its nuclear energy quickly as it aims to overcome a peak overall power shortage of around 12 percent.

"I will highlight the high priority we attach to nuclear security, safety and non-proliferation" at the summit, Singh said in a statement, adding it was vital to reassure the public about safety measures.

Singh, who will be among leaders or senior officials from 53 nations attending the meeting, said the summit has become "even more important" after the devastating Fukushima accident in Japan last year.

India has been caught in the backlash against atomic power caused by the tsunami-led meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Work resumed earlier in the week on one of two Russian-backed 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors in the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu's Koodankulam region that had been held up over safety concerns.

The Koodankulam plant is one of many India hopes to build as part of its ambitions to produce 63,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2032 -- a nearly 14-fold increase from current levels.

Nuclear energy has been a priority for India since 2008 when then US president George W. Bush signed into law a deal with New Delhi that ended a three-decade ban on US nuclear trade with the country.

During his trip, Singh will also hold talks with the South Korean leadership, including the country's president, Lee Myung-Bak.


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