Home > In the Media > ‘Why is Maharashtra govt in a hurry to set up nuke plant?’

‘Why is Maharashtra govt in a hurry to set up nuke plant?’

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Alok Deshpande in DNA

December 7, 2010

On Monday, the French company AREVA and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) signed a deal ensuring that the 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project will proceed in New Delhi, which will have the evolutionary pressurised reactors designed by the said company.

The project will have six such reactors, each with a capacity of around 1,650 MW, for around Rs1 lakh crore.

After the ‘conditional’ clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), questions have been raised about the urgency showed by the government to go ahead with the project and anti-project activists had even accused French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to India as the reason for the hurry.
Experts and scientists have raised doubts questioning the reactor design and the problem of radioactivity.

Former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Dr A Gopalkrishnan has questioned the wisdom of entering into contract with AREVA for the reactor which is unproved and plagued with delays and cost overruns.

“The hurried clearance was given on political considerations only to meet the deadline of Sarkozy’s visit,” said Gopalkrishnan.

These reactors are currently not being used anywhere in the world.

“MoEF, NEERI, and NPCIL have accepted that the major environmental risk (70 to 80%) in a nuclear power plant arises out of the risk of planned or unplanned radioactivity release. However, MoEF, while giving the clearance, has not dealt with that issue and has asked the board to conduct that study. This is premature and illegitimate on the ministry’s part,” said Vivek Monteiro of Konkan Bachao Samiti.

No clear answer on issues such as fuel reprocessing and waste disposal is causing concern too. The fishing community of Sakhri Natye, near Madban, is scared of losing their livelihoods. “The sea water will be used for cooling reactors and that high temperature water will then be released in the sea. This will impact fish and other marine biology tremendously,” said Amjad Borkar Sakhri Natye fishermen association.

The report released by Bombay Natural History Society on ‘Diversity of Coastal Marine Ecosystems of Maharashtra’ states, “… Thermal discharge from the proposed power plant will have direct influence on the fishing in this region.”

Amid all the allegations and counter allegations, the government seems to be firm on its decision to build the plant.

Meanwhile, senior social worker Anna Hazare has extended his support to this project. “Country is facing a severe crunch of power, and through this project some of the power issues will be solved. So, I appeal to people to not oppose it. To complete this project somebody should sacrifice, but it is the government’s duty to make proper rehabilitation plans for farmers whose land they are acquiring for the project,” said Hazare.

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