From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nuclear Projects in India
Mains level : Nuclear Energy
If built on time, Jaitapur Project in Maharashtra would be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net generation capacity, at 9,900 MW.
Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project
- Jaitapur Project is a proposed nuclear power plant in India.
- The power project is proposed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and would be built at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra.
- It is being built with technical cooperation from France.
- It is proposed to construct 6 European Pressurized Reactors designed and developed by Framatome (former Areva) of France, each of 1650 MW, thus totaling 9900 MW.
- These are the third generation pressurized water reactors (PWR).
- The cost of building the plant is about ₹20 crore (US$2.7 million) per MW electric power compared with ₹5 crore (US$660,000) per MW electric power for a coal power station.
- A consortium of French financial institutions will finance this project as a loan. Both French and Indian government will give sovereign guarantee for this loan.
Issues with the project
(I) Liability for nuclear damage
- The lack of clarity on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010 passed in Indian Parliament in August 2010 is a hurdle in finalizing deal.
- This Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010 has a clause that deals with the legal binding of the culpable groups in case of a nuclear accident.
- It allows only the operator (NPCIL) to sue the manufacturers and suppliers. Victims will not be able to sue anyone.
(II) Clearance issue
- Environmental effects of nuclear power and geological issues have been raised by anti-nuclear activists of India against this power project.
- Even though the Maharashtra state govt completed land acquisition in 2010, only few people had accepted compensation cheques.
(III) Seismicity of the area
- Since Jaitapur is a seismically sensitive area, the danger of an earthquake has been foremost on the minds of people.
- According to the Earthquake hazard zoning of India, Jaitapur comes under Zone III. This zone is called the moderate Risk Zone and covers areas liable to MSK VIII.
- The presence of two major creeks on the proposed site has been ignored while clearing the site.
(IV) Nuclear waste disposal
- It is not clear where the nuclear waste from the site will be shipped for recycling or removed for disposal.
- The plant is estimated to generate 300 tonnes of used nuclear fuel each year.