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Maharashtra: 1st to benefit from Indo-US N-deal

April 08, 2007 20:54 IST

Maharashtra will be the first state to get six imported mega atomic plants of at least 1,600 MW each for its Jaitapur nuclear power project in Ratnagiri district once the Indo-US civil nuclear deal comes through.

Preparations are on in full swing by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited to receive the plants and all them will most likely be of the European Pressurised Water Reactor type, a third generation design, said NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director S K Jain.

EPRs were designed and developed by Framatome (Areva NP) and Electric de France in France and Siemens AG in Germany.

Though initially the government had approved two units of 1,000 MW each for the Jaitapur plant, NPCIL is preparing a techno-economic evaluation report for EPRs of 1,600 MW too, Jain told PTI.

The estimated investment for the proposed six units, the first of their kind both in terms of investment and size of the generating unit, is expected to be over Rs 50,000 crore, he said.

NPCIL will contribute 30 per cent equity while the rest will be raised through various instruments, including multilateral loans and from markets, Jain said.

The plant will be located at Madban village in Rajapur Taluka of Ratnagiri district and this was notified in the Maharashtra state government gazzette on January 12, 2006 on the basis of the Centre's sanction, he said.

EPR reactors are currently under construction in Finland and France. Germany is yet to begin their construction, Jain said.

The main design objectives of EPR are increased safety while providing enhanced economic competitiveness through improvements to previous PWR designs. They have been scaled up to an electrical output of 1,600 MW. The reactors use five per cent enriched uranium oxide or mixed uranium plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel.

Finland faces construction delays of about a year following quality control problems, said a member of the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group.

The Jaitapur plant requires about 700 hectares of land and 250 hectares for a residential township, Jain said, adding that Jaitapur, one of four coastal sites meant for setting up nuclear plants with imported reactors, is not prone to seismic activity and meets all regulatory requirements.

Since the site is located on the Arabian Sea coast, it will meet the cooling requirement of the plants.

Asked about the displacement of people at the project site, Jain said the plant's proposed location does not require any displacement and less than 10 per cent of the site is agricultural land.

Meanwhile, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said there were many important and complex issues to be resolved in discussions on the 123 agreement with the US to implement the civil nuclear deal.

Two or more meetings are expected to take place this year to iron out all differences, he said.

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