Experts term Jaitapur project as ‘bad bargain’
World’s biggest nuclear power generation unit at Jaitapur in Maharashtra has been termed as a ‘bad bargain’ for ecology and human safety.
The British and US regulators have identified 3,000 safety issues with European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) to be installed by French company Areva at the proposed site.
The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) issued a report justifying its opposition to the 6,000 MW nuclear plant, which got the environment clearance in November 2010, in the backdrop of the crackdown on those opposing the project.Terming environmental concerns as misconceived, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had alleged last week that international groups had misguided locals, who were not looking at the co-benefits of the project.
“Democratic opposition is being crushed through force in Jaitapur,” alleged Vaishali Patil, who has been spearheading the campaign and has been denied entry into the region.
The coalition claimed that the government was certain on proceeding with the project, which is extremely costly, without exploring the possibility of renewables, which can generate 4,300 MW of power in the Western Ghats region — which among the world’s 10 hottest biodiversity hotspots.
The six reactors will cost the government R2,00,000 crore with the cost to produce a megawatt of power being 8-9 megawatt as compared to R5 crore for coal-fired thermal power plant.
“The EPR reactor being installed in Finland has been delayed by over 42 months and the cost has increased by 90% of the original $3 billion. In addition, the Department of Atomic Energy cannot certify that the plant would be safe,” said Praful Bidwai.
The report also pointed out how the project will destroy unique bio-diversity of Western Ghats and termed the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s conditions to protect the environment as vague. “Most of the conditions imposed (by Ramesh) should have been done till now,” Anil Chaudhury of the coalition said.
Asking the government to withdraw the project, the coalition said the four villages, whose livelihood will get destroyed because of the project, had refused to take enhanced compensation from government.
Uddhav meets CM
In Mumbai, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday met Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on the issue of the arrest of 12 persons in connection with the project a few days ago.
Thackeray was accompanied by Sena leaders Subhash Desai, Datta Nalawade and Diwakar Raote.