The proposed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) has run into fresh trouble with the partial and conditional five-year environmental clearance granted to it on November 26, 2010 lapsing last week.
Anti-nuclear plant activists have written to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar with a request to issue stop work notices to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur village in Ratnagiri district.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), then headed by Jairam Ramesh, had granted the conditional environmental clearance to the project on November 26, 2010. “The environmental clearance accorded shall be valid for a period of 5 years to start of production operations by the power plant,” said point number six in the clearance document. “Since the JNPP no longer has a valid environmental clearance, the NPCIL should stop work at the site. The Ministry must make a public announcement of this decision in the respect of this project,” said a letter sent by Konkan Bachao Samiti (KBS) to Mr. Javadekar. The KBS is an umbrella organisation of all individuals and groups fighting against the proposed project.
The NPCIL reacted to the development in a defensive manner, saying it has followed all rules as mandated by the MoEF. It however neither rejected nor accepted the KBS contention that the clearance has lapsed, but played down the incident saying it’s a minor thing which can be sorted out easily.
The KBS has also written to K. C. Purohit, Chairman and Managing Director, NPCIL about the issue. Even after five years of partial and conditional environmental clearance, work on proposed JNPP has not gone beyond acquiring land and building boundary wall around the area. According to senior NPCIL officials, several techno-commercial agreements are needed to be signed to move forward with the project, which will have six European Pressurised Reactors — each with a capacity of 1650 MW — installed at the site.