The crucial environmental clearance has given a major boost to Nuclear Power Corporation for its proposed 10,000-Mw nuclear power project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. In an interview with Sanjay Jog, NPC CMD S K Jain spells out the state-run company’s future strategies.
How do you see the latest development?
NPC is quite happy as the environment clearance has been a major milestone. I want to assure that whatever stipulations are laid down in the environmental clearance, NPC is committed to comply with all. We are in the final round of very intense negotiations with Areva, which is supplying 1,650 Mw of six European pressured reactors for the project. We hope to soon sign an early works agreement with Areva. The agreement will pave the way for establishing the design parameters needed for fine-tuning the entire design.
However, environmentalists and locals have raised serious environmental concerns.
Incidentally, environment conservation is a top priority for NPC. About five years ago, the company had done ecological studies from six to seven universities. We will repeat those studies again for Jaitapur. NPC has demonstrated by 20 operating plants that it has not caused any damage to the environment. On the contrary, we have enriched the environment. We have taken the help of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) to guide us in choosing the plantation and greenery, which attract the birds. We have also started a butterfly park in Kakrapara with the advice and support of BNHS. These projects are successful and Jaitapur will not be an exception. We will intensity these efforts to enrich the flora and fauna and the environment there.
NPC never believes in shortcuts, and we have engaged the best agencies available in India to ensure there are no adverse effects of nuclear power on the population, environment and the overall ecology, which also includes the marine ecology.
What is your comment on the government’s directive to increase compensation for project-affected persons?
When will the actual project development begin?
NPC wants to start the various infrastructure projects for village projects in the next one or two months. We believe that a final agreement with Areva will be signed within the next 18 months and the actual work on the main project would begin before the end of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (March 31, 2012). Our dream is to commission the first unit in 2017-18.