Home > In the Media > Power from Jaitapur nuclear plant won’t come cheap

Power from Jaitapur nuclear plant won’t come cheap

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Alok Deshpande in DNA

Feb 14, 2011

The electricity generated from the proposed 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) will be double, even triple the cost of electricity from coal- or gas-fired plants, according to a report.

Depending on the cost of capital, the unit cost of electricity from Jaitapur would come to Rs5 to Rs8 per kilowatt per hour.

The same unit from a thermal or gas operated plant costs Rs2 to 2.5 only, says the report published by the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP).

It also mentions that the capital cost of setting up JNPP, which consists of six European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), would involve Rs200,000 crore of public money.

The report, prepared by eminent journalists and activists such as Praful Bidwai, Rafeeq Ellias and Vaishali Patil, raises serious questions about the economic cost of the project.

The reactors, which have not been commissioned fully anywhere else in the world before, are expected to cost Rs21 crore per megawatt (MW) of energy they produce. This figure is conditional upon the fact that the ongoing construction of EPR at Olkiluoto, Finland, does not escalate beyond the estimated 5.7 billion euros.

The cost estimate, however, does not include fuel or maintenance costs, storage of hundreds of tonnes of the nuclear waste generated annually; also the cost of reactor decommissioning, which could amount to one-third to one-half of the construction cost.

It also does not include the extensive additional physical security costs, including anti-aircraft batteries and the extra Coast Guard deployment. In addition, there are environmental costs, and health costs on miners, plant workers, and the public living close to nuclear installations, and the associated medical expenses.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has been maintaining right beginning that the EPR technology is completely safe and the it has taken all possible precautions to ensure the safety of the project.

However, the report which has also scrutinised the EPR technology, has listed out countries and organisations which have raised serious objections on the reactor’s design.

It is mentioned that the French nuclear safety agency itself has noted several problems in the reactor design, while the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has delayed its design certification to the EPR from June 2012 to February 2013.

“(In Finland) Several safety, design and construction problems have pushed its start-up to the second half of 2013 — a delay of 42 months, with a cost escalation of 90%,” said the report.

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