The equipment for the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant at Ratnagiri will not be approved if the country’s atomic watchdog is not satisfied with the safety aspects, said Prithiviraj Chavan, minister for science and technology on Saturday.
The 10,000 megawatt power plant — also the largest in the world to be set up in one location — that will house six European light water reactors is being built in collaboration with France-based Areva.
Chavan’s clarification is following concerns raised by activists on the safety design aspect of the equipment supplied by Areva.
“We are not giving turnkey contracts to anyone. The equipment will be purchased from the foreign vendor only if the design is approved by their national atomic regulatory agency,” said Chavan. He added that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board would have to then individually approve of the designs as well.
“So a thorough scrutiny will also be conducted for Areva. Unless we are satisfied with the safety and economic aspect of the design, we won’t approve,” said Chavan who was at the Indian Merchants Chamber addressed industry leaders on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill that was passed on August 26.
Having signed agreements for civil nuclear cooperation with France, US and Russia, the government is also in talks with Japan and South Korea.
Chavan said the role of suppliers in the Bill became even more pertinent after the Bhopal gas tragedy.
“The way Union Carbide ran the plant is not acceptable. Foreign suppliers have to be responsible. Our lives are important to us,” he said.
Since October last year, villagers have been opposing the proposed plant pointing out environmental concerns. “This is misplaced fear,” said Chavan.
“There will be no effluents coming out of the plant. So there will be no affect on alphonso mangoes, cashew trees or environment in general.”