Finally, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Sunday would formally announce the environment clearance to the 10,000-Mw nuclear project in Maharashtra. The approval is expected to come with a rider.
MoEF has acquired a high profile for stalling several large projects and Jairam the label of ‘Dr No’ from critics for objecting to almost every project on environment ground.
NPC would have to adhere to safety and regulatory norms and implement the proposed rehabilitation and compensation package.
The project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra is the first to be developed by NPC by initially procuring two 1,650 Mw each of European pressurised reactors from Areva. This is also the first project after the Indo-US civil nuclear deal was put in place. “NPC will achieve a milestone after it gets the environment clearance. The Maharashtra government last month cleared NPC’s relief and rehabilitation package for the affected persons,” an NPC official told Business Standard.
The environment clearance for Jaitapur comes close on the heels of the approval granted by the ministry to the Navi Mumbai international airport on November 22.
Jairam had already rejected demands from various organisations to hold fresh public hearing for the project. However, he was consistent on his views that NPC would need to resolve the compensation and acquisition issues.
NPC and Areva are now in talks to enter into an early works contract and on how to optimise the capital cost by sharing the scope of the responsibilities with regard to construction and erection of plant facilities, among others. NPC indicated that it would enter into a final agreement by March 2011 so that the construction could begin thereafter. The first unit of Jaitapur is expected to be on-steam by 2017-18. NPC (submitted to) told the experts appraisal committee that it would review the technology options for Jaitapur and the final decision would be taken with due approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. According to NPC, in case of EPR design, the low and intermediate radioactive solid/solidified waste, has an option to be stored in the radioactive waste storage building, where solid waste storage will be above ground.