India has set up 18 radiation emergency response centres in different parts of the country to deal with any nuclear emergencies which can occur due to an act of terror, nuclear attack, transportation of nuclear materials and accidents in nuclear facilities.
The first of these centres with well-trained scientific manpower, advanced radiation measuring and monitoring instruments, software and other emergency material, was inaugurated at the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research in Bangalore by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar.
Head of emergency response systems & methods section, Radiation Safety Systems Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Dr K S Pradeepkumar, said the 18 centres set up by the Department of Atomic Energy strengthens the emergency preparedness which already exists.
"These centres will be in a position to give any advice and support to the civil administrators and first responders regarding rescue and rehabilitation following any suspected presence of radioactive material in the public domain," he said.
Pradeepkumar said systems have been developed to prevent smuggling of radioactive sources to India as well as to prevent illegal trafficking of radioactive sources.
"Systems like aerial gamma spectrometry systems installed in aircraft can search and detect orphan sources even if stored in some building," he said.
Director of Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Anjan Chaki said though incidents of nuclear emergencies are next to nil, the DAE did not want to take any chances in matters of safety and security.