Villagers and activists, who attended the first public hearing at Madban for the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) in Ratnagiri district, had come prepared to grill officials.
Referring to the Chernobyl disaster, social scientist Vivek Monteiro said: “That plant capacity was just 1,000 mega watt. But JNPP is 10 times the size of that reactor and will thus generate 10 times more nuclear waste and radiation.”
S.P. Dharne from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) differed saying: “The technology then was obsolete. JNPP will be built with the latest know-how.”
When an official said the per unit cost of power generated from the project would be up to Rs 2.46 a unit, Monteiro, who had filed a case against Enron, said: “Even Enron said the same thing, but ended up charging Rs 7 a unit. The cost per mega watt for the first decade will not be less than Rs 9.91 per unit.”
Except for four villagers, no one has accepted the compensation cheque of Rs 2.86 per sq ft. “We are dependent on our lands. What will we do if our only source of income is taken away,” said Meena Surve, a resident.
Of the 938 hectare across five villages – Madban, Niweli, Karel, Mithgawane and Ansure – 700 hectares will house six imported European light water reactors from France-based Areva, poised to generate 10,000 mega watts. At present, NPCIL has got the nod to build two reactors with 1,650 mega watt capacity each.
There was outrage when NPCIL officials said the government was still looking for a repository to store radioactive waste.