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PM asked to cancel Jaitapur nuclear project

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on Sunday urged to cancel the contract with French company Areva to set up nuclear reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

The National Committee in Solidarity with Jaitapur Struggle said the plan to put up six reactors in Jaitapur "appears seriously flawed" after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The appeal to the prime minister was signed by political leaders Prakash Karat, AB Bardhan, Ram Vilas Paswan, Nama Nageswara Rao, K. Danish Ali, Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja.

"We are deeply concerned that the central government and the Maharashtra government do not seem to have paid due attention to the serious objections regarding the safety of the proposed Areva reactors and its costs raised by experts, MPs, public figures and local people," it said.

Pic used for representational purposes only. Getty Images

The communication said the project had not been subjected to an independent rigorous scientific techno-economic scrutiny and safety audit.

It said the 'conditional' environmental clearance granted by the ministry of environment and forest in November 2010 was based on an unscientific and deeply flawed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

The 1,650 MWe European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of Areva, it said, "is an untested design and has caused serious concerns among the nuclear safety agencies of different countries".

It said there had been significant cost and time over-runs for the Areva EPR reactors. It added that Areva was in deep trouble on the financial front.

The statement said Siemens, the major technology partner of Areva, had announced its exit from the nuclear power business.

"There are also reports that EDF and Areva have joined hands with a Chinese firm to develop a new reactor of 1000 MWe to replace the EPR in the long run.

"In view of the above developments it is unlikely that the Areva EPR would today pass even an elementary test of techno-economic due diligence."

The communication accused the NPCIL of refusing to disclose the costs and resultant tariff for the JNPP.

"Once the plant commences operations, the vast store of spent fuel produced will be a long-term hazard. It does not appear that NPCIL has made any plans to address this issue.

"In the light of the facts stated above, we are of the firm opinion that the contract with AREVA in respect of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project should be cancelled."

IANS