Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra gets environmental clearance

New Delhi, November 28, 2010

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has accorded environmental clearance for the 9900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, subject to 35 conditions and safeguards.

The public sector Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has proposed to implement the 6X1650 MW power generating complex in phases at Madban village.

NPCIL hs signed an agreement with Areva of France for setting up the project, which will initially have two 1650 MW units.

Among the conditions imposed by the Ministry is one that a comprehensive biodiversity conservation plan shall be prepared for the Jaitapur region within 12 months in consultation with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the state forests and wildlife department and local biodiversity management committees.

This plan will also deal with measures needed to maintain the health of the mangroves in the creek area outside the plant site.

The Ministry has said that a monitoring committee comprising outside experts and institutions (including the BNHS, College of Fisheries, Ratnagiri and the Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli) should be constituted by NPCIL to oversee the implementation of environmental management measures. The deliberations of the committee have to be put on the website of NPCIL on a regular basis.

Another condition is that a special plan will be made to put in place appropriate safeguard measures to ensure that the fisheries in the sea adjoining Ambolgad are not affected adversely due to the project. BNHS and other agencies should be involved in this exercise.

The Ministry said Kasheli was another critical area that needed to be safeguarded. A special plan for mitigating adverse impacts on fishing livelihoods in the region would also be implemented. Musakazi is an important fishing village and jetty, which is less than a kilometre away from the project site. It said access to fishing communities should be ensured at all times.

The MoEF said design of cooling water discharge system should be finalisd with demonstrably adequate provision for its extension into the marine area beyond 2.2 kms, if needed to minimise the adverse impact on biodiversity, coral reefs and aquatic fauna in the larger Jaitapur area.

It said NPCIL's ongoing environmental stewardship programme should be substantially strengthened with a focus on the Western Ghats since three of its power generating complexes - Tarapur (in Maharashtra), Kaiga in Karnataka and now Jaitapur - were located in this ecologically sensitive region. This programme must build a network of independent scholars and sentinels for nature conservation, it said.

The Ministry said that, during finalisation of the project design and the approval by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), if the project undergoes such design/technology changes which have significant impact on envronmental components, the project will have to be taken back to it for reconsideration.

The storage, disposal and management of radioactive liquid waste emanating from the plant would be strictly treated and managed as per the guidelines and procedures prescribed by the AERB and International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in this regard, the Ministry said. The solid radioactive waste shall be stored above ground as per the standard European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design after it has been duly reviewed and certified by the AERB.

The MoEF said that the radioactive levels in different components of the environment, including food chain, air quality, water and soil shall be monitored regularly for radioactive levels in the surrounding areas as per AERB standards and records maintained for public scrutiny.

Online continuous monitoring of the temperature of the discharged cooling water shall be carried out at the discharge point. It shall be ensured that the temperature differential of the discharged water with respect to the intake water does not exceed 5 degrees Celsius at any given point of time.

A comprehensive environmental impact assessment will be done when both units 1 and 2 are operational by 2019 and the results of this assessment fed into additional safeguards, f needed, for the operation of the remaining four units, the Ministry said.

NNN

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