‘Design, safety features not presented to AERB'

The All India Power Engineers' Federation (AIPEF) and the National Confederation of Officers' Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings (NCOA) have come out strongly against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant.

Terming it a “dangerous nuclear version of the Enron's Dhabol fiasco,” they said the Centre agreed to the French reactor even without design and safety features being presented to and approved by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

The Jaitapur plant would cost upwards of Rs. 22 crore a MWe against Rs. 8 crore in an indigenous equivalent nuclear plant, the two organisations said.

In a joint statement, AIPEF president Padamjit Singh and NCOA president K. Ashok Rao, said: “While the Dhabol power plant left losses of a few thousands of crores, the Jaitapur nuclear power plant will in addition leave behind a few lakhs dead, injured and displaced.”

Rationale questioned

They also questioned the rationale behind the government's plans to increase the installed capacity of nuclear power in the country from 3.8 GWe to 655 GWe in the next four decades.

“Such a large expansion would be impossible without compromising quality and safety.”

It also meant a “summary rejection” of the three-stage development plan conceived by Homi Bhabha, founder and prime architect of the Indian atomic energy programme. “No sane power engineer, anywhere in the world, would envisage an almost 200 times increase in nuclear power within 41 years.”