The 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project to be set up in collaboration with a French firm in Maharashtra will soon become a reality albeit with some conditions.
The project will help energy deficient states like Maharashtra which face compulsory power cuts. The project has faced its fair share of controversies with concerns on safety and displacement but the Environment Minister today made it clear that nuclear energy is essential if India is to meet its energy needs.
Lately in the news for blocking big projects today Jairam Ramesh cleared a major one.
A 10,000 MW nuclear power park will be made in Jaitapur.
It will be spread across over 900 hectare, a mini-township in itself in the Western Ghats, an ecologically sensitive zone.
The area is known for its rich biodiversity. And it will affect an estimated 2300 people from five villages.
"Environmentalists are against coal as it causes global warming, against hydro as it submerges and against nuclear as well. India has a population of 1.2 billion. It is the height of foolish romance that India can meet its energy needs from solar and bioenergy," said the Environment Minister.
That's not good enough for environmentalists.
"Obviously a decision is taken in great haste. Haste is because of the visit of Sarkozy. We want to do something to meet the deadline of the French President's visit. Now this is going to be a case of acting in haste and repenting in leisure," said Vivek Monteiro, President, Mumbai Shramik Sangh.
If all goes well Jaitapur could produce electricity as early as 7 years.
India hopes to install 6 reactors each of 1650 MW that it will import from the French nuclear giant Areva in a roughly, 18 billion euro deal.
The green nod from the environment ministry now means that the world's largest nuclear power park can now come up in India. The ministry has attached stringent conditions and the NPCIL says it will be able to meet all of them.