Fault lies with govt for delay in Jaitapur nuclear plant: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

New Delhi: With stiff resistance from locals delaying the commissioning of Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Friday said "the fault lies with" the government for not being able to convince the people of the "advantages of atomic energy".

The Minister of State for the Department of Atomic Energy and Space said the government is gathering all resources to make the 9,900-MW Jaitapur nuclear power plant in coastal Maharashtra as one of the most glorious atomic energy
establishments.

Fault lies with govt for delay in Jaitapur nuclear plant: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

The Jaitapur Power Plant stands delayed. Reuters

"There is a lot of misgivings and we are looking at that plant very ambitiously, the entire atomic energy department is focussed on that, we are trying to gather all the resources to make it one of the most glorious atomic energy establishments, but again these misgivings have come up. We have failed or we have not been able to propagate the facts as vigorously and aggressively as we ought to have done."

"There is a lot of non-malignant advantages of atomic energy - it is environment friendly, climate friendly and these things are evidently very clear and if we are not able to convince our people and a plant like that in Jaitapur is still suffering from certain hiccups perhaps again the fault lies with us," Singh said.

He was speaking at the Nuclear Energy Conference organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) in New Delhi.

Emphasising more awareness, Singh said hazards of nuclear energy are not actually of the magnitude to which they are being projected and for that there is a need to have more awareness programmes with facts and figures because "we have stuck up with something like Jaitapur plant".

"We need to tell the world and the people here that we have conducted a number of studies which have proved abundantly that there is no extra risk or hazard with having an atomic energy establishment in your vicinity," the Union Minister said.

Echoing the minister's sentiments, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary Ratan Kumar Sinha, who is also the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, said convincing people about nuclear energy and getting good financial experts are the two major challenges facing the Indian nuclear industry.

"The negative information flowing to the people from the rural areas, less educated ones was hampering the nuclear projects in the country and it was important to convince the population about it at large," Sinha said.

"After completion of the project, almost 75 percent of the total cost of per unit is of the high capital cost that is involved. So the sector requires financial experts, in managing the cost," Sinha said."

He said over the past 7-8 months, India has had a "productive" and "revolutionary" dialogue with its foreign collaborators which includes Canada and Australia in terms of procuring uranium, the pre-work engineering agreement (PEA) with French company Areva and the US company WestingHouse Co.

Francois Richer, French envoy to India, said that with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to France, the nuclear cooperation between the two nations has developed and his country supports India's entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Speaking on the occasion, Irwan Hinault, CEO Areva -- the company which is to be built six EPR reactors at Jaitapur -- said the PEA between his company and Larsen and Toubro will help improve the competitiveness of the project as many equipment could be manufactured in India itself, thereby reducing the cost.

PTI

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Updated Date: May 15, 2015 17:29:04 IST

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