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Draft ecological assessment for Mithivirdi atomic project ready

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Engineers India Ltd has completed a preliminary report for the environmental impact assessment for Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd’s (NPCIL) proposed 6x1,000-megawatt (Mw) project at Mithivirdi, Gujarat.

US nuclear reactor supplier Westinghouse Electric Co has signed a memorandum of understanding with NPCIL, agreeing to negotiate an early works agreement for setting up six AP1000 units at Mithivirdi. The AP1000 is a two-loop pressurised water reactor sold by Westinghouse. “This is a draft EIA report, which will be further scrutinised,” NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director K C Purohit told Business Standard. The draft report, uploaded on NPCIL’s website, comes at a time when the company is struggling to commission the first unit of its 1,000-Mw of Kudankulam nuclear project in Tamil Nadu and complete negotiations with France’s Areva for the supply of two evolutionary pressurised reactors for the 9,900-Mw Jaitapur nuclear project in Maharashtra.

According to the report, engineered safety features should be actuated in the event of an accidental release of radioactive fission products from the reactor coolant system.

The engineered safety features function to localise, control, mitigate and terminate such accidents and to maintain radiation exposure levels to the public below applicable limits.

Besides, a gaseous radwaste system should be designed to perform the collection of gaseous wastes that are radioactive or hydrogen bearing and process and discharge the emissions. Releases from the gaseous radwaste system should be continuously monitored by a radiation detector, it added.

An NPCIL official said the EIA study was conducted after the ministry of environment and forests’ (MoEF) expert appraisal committee (EAC) had issued terms of reference in this regard on March 14, 2011. “The district authorities and the pollution control agency will now hold a public hearing in this regard and after that the EAC will give its approval for the final EIA report,” said the official, who did not want to be identified.

The Mithivirdi project will be implemented in twin units in a phased manner within 10 years. The first twin unit is scheduled to be completed by 2019-20. The stage-II will be completed in 2021-22 and the stage-III in 2023-24.

The project site is located on the western side of the Gulf of Khambhat. The total project area is 777 hectares (ha). A total of 603 ha fall under agricultural land and the remaining land includes waste land, forest, scrub land, water body, the official said.

The draft EIA report also notes the site lies in the zone III of the seismic zoning map and it satisfies the requirement of screening distance value of 5 km from a capable fault.

First Published: Mon, January 28 2013. 00:38 IST