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Jaitapur ideal location for nuclear power plant, says NPCIL

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Jaitapur is the ideal location for a nuclear power plant, said S.A. Bharadwaj, Director of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), adding there are lobbies working against the contentious project, which faced opposition from the locals.

Bharadwaj said in New Delhi on Monday (January 09), the plant is proposed to be set up on barren land at Jaitapur in Raigarh district of Maharashtra at a height of 15 meters from the adjoining villages. The design and development of the 100,000 crore (19 billion US dollars) plant with an installed capacity of 9900 megawatts is being done by Areva of France.

NPCIL expects to begin work on two reactors in Jaitapur shortly and is looking for external funding, after some financial institutions pulled out of it following the controversy.

Anti-nuclear project activists lament Jaitapur is located on a seismic zone and cite the recent Fukushima accident to buttress their argument against it. They claim, the safety and reliability of European Pressurised Reactors or EPRs is questionable, since such Reactors are not operational anywhere in the world. Areva however, claim EPRs are ‘among the most powerful reactors in the world….and ensures an unequalled safety level,” and capable to withstanding external incidents like airplane crashes and seismic vibrations.

International advocacy group Greenpeace, which has been campaigning against the plant, claims the proposed site is a ‘High Damage Risk Zone’, falls in ‘one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots’ and it will put the entire ecosystem at considerable risk. The Seismology Division of Indian Meteorological Department confirmed, the project site is very close to Zone IV and advised to take ‘due consideration’ in the design and construction of vital structures. However, there is no national park or sanctuary located around the site, according to federal Environment Ministry.

NPCIL officials however, said if they are able to get across the agitating locals directly, they could clear the air, but for certain people or groups backing the agitations with a vested interest.

Bharadwaj also said it would take at least six months to resume work on Kudankulam Nuclear Plant being built with Russian technology, once the local protest ends.

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