Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is likely to give a green signal on Sunday to India's first nuclear plant to be set up in collaboration with a French firm -- in Jaitapur in Maharashtra.
Sources in the Environment Ministry said Ramesh is expected to make an announcement in this regard on November 28 in Mumbai in the presence of the new state Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan.
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry has already recommended a conditional environmental clearance to the 10,000 MW nuclear power plant to be set up by the NPCIL with the help of French company Areva.
A go-ahead from the Ministry would have to be followed by clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board as well, say the sources.
The project is being billed as the first fruit of India's civil nuclear agreement with France and the Nuclear Power Corporation is expecting that the first unit of the project will be commissioned in 2017-18.
The agreement for the proposed project, which will have six units of 1,650 MW each, will be signed between Areva and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in the presence of French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is scheduled to visit India in December 6-7.
The project is facing opposition from civil society groups like the Konkan Bachao Samiti who have expressed concerns about the radiological safety of the nuclear plant and its impact on the environment.
They have also pointed "faults" in the environmental impact assessment report prepared by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) alleging that it is based on generic and incomplete inputs on radioactive threats.
Sources say that the Minister is expected to grant clearance to the project on the condition that safety-related and environmental issues are addressed and displaced people are adequately rehabilitated.
If given a go-ahead, this will be the second major project after the proposed Navi Mumbai airport that will get a nod from the Ministry within a fortnight of Chavan taking over as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.