A nuclear power plant proposed to be set up in Haryana is one step short of getting the green clearance with a high-level panel of the environment ministry giving conditional nod.
The decision to recommend green clearance to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) proposal for setting up a Rs 23,502 crore nuclear power plant in Fatehabad district was taken at a recent meeting of expert appraisal committee on environmental appraisal of nuclear power projects, official sources said.
Environment minister is the final authority to grant the clearance to the project to be set up around 200 km away from the national capital.
The NPCIL proposal seeks setting up a nuclear power park, known as Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna (4x700 MWe), at Fatehabad's Gorakhpur village.
The project, for which the ministry accorded Terms of References (ToR) three years ago, would be implemented in phases. The first phase would comprise two units of 700 MWe each.
The panel, which had sought details of the compensation paid and other measures as part of the project's rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) plan for those affected, has insisted that the project proponent should consider the newly enacted Land Acquisition Act for providing relief for project affected persons including landless labourers.
The proposal has been recommended for green clearance subject to several specific conditions.
The eight-member committee, chaired by A R Reddy, has asked the NPCIL to obtain the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) clearance for the site for starting any construction work.
The panel has suggested that the project proponent should take necessary precautionary measures in and around the plant.
It has recommended that regular monitoring of conventional gaseous pollutants, radioactive pollutants in the air as well as in the discharged water should be monitored regularly as per the AERB standards and regular monitoring of ambient air quality should be carried out in and around the power plant and records maintained.
The high-level ministry panel has suggested that greenbelt should be developed in 35 per cent area around the project boundary with the native species of adequate density and width.
In addition, plantation should be raised in other vacant areas within the plant site, it said.
According to it, water requirement for the project should not exceed 320 cusecs as per the permission accorded by the state Irrigation Department and no groundwater should be used in the project either during construction phase or during operation phase.
The panel has also recommended testing of soil and groundwater samples to ascertain that there is no deterioration of groundwater quality by leaching heavy metals, radio nuclide and other toxic contaminants.
The non-radioactive waste water generated from the plant premises should be suitably treated in sewage treatment plant and the treated effluents should be recycled and reused within the plant premises for greenbelt and other things, it said.
The radioactive liquid waste emanating from the plant should be treated and managed as per the guidelines of AERB, it said.
The clearance is also subject to clearance from the wildlife authorities due to location of Schedule-I species of the animals in the vicinity.
"As directed by the ministry, conservation plan for Schedule-I species should be prepared in consultation with the state chief wildlife warden, Wildlife Institute of India or Zoological Survey of India," an official said.
In case the area is declared as wildlife park or sanctuary, necessary prior wildlife clearance should also be obtained from the steering committee of National Board of Wildlife, he said.
The proposal would be considered by the respective authorities on their merits and decision taken.
The committee has also suggested that independent environment clearance should be sought for the township, if shifted from the present location due to change in surrounding environment.