Amid growing public resistance to nuclear power projects, India has sought new test reports from the French nuclear authority on safety issues raised in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, before finalising orders for reactors from France's atomic energy giant Areva.
"We have asked the French to provide the ASN (the country's nuclear safety authority) report on the safety features related to EPRs after the new assessment," Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee told PTI on Tuesday.
Banerjee, who is attending the International Atomic Energy Agency's 55th General Conference, said that he had conveyed the decision to have the ASN report to French Energy Minister Eric Besson. The ASN report would be available in December this year, he said.
In December last, India had signed a USD 9.5 billion framework deal under which Areva would build two European Pressurised Reactors for the 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) in Maharashtra, with an option for four more.
The proposed project is facing stiff resistance from the local population, several political parties and activists who want it scrapped after the radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plant after the tsunami in March this year.
The opposition to nuclear power has spilled over from Jaitapur in Maharashtra to Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu, where 100 odd protesters are on a fast to voice their concern over the safety of the 2000 MW atomic power plant.
The protest prompted chief minister J Jayalalithaa to write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday to order immediate halt work on the project until public concern over safety issues had been addressed.
The Prime Minister rushed minsiter of state in PMO V Narayanasamy to the project site seeking to allay the fears of the local people.