The Communist Party of India (CPI) has called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to place the contract signed between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and French civil nuclear company Areva in the public domain.

The framework agreement was signed earlier this week at a ceremony presided over by Dr. Singh and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, CPI national secretary D. Raja drew attention to the doubts expressed about the safety, costs and ‘conditional environmental clearance' to the nuclear park allotted to Areva, which will set up six reactors to generate about 10,000 MW of energy.

Referring to the public protests at the site in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district and elsewhere, Mr. Raja regretted the “repression” by the State government instead of engaging the protesters in dialogue.

On December 4, several thousand people protested at Ratnagiri, while over 1,000 marched through the heart of Mumbai's working class areas in opposition to the Jaitapur project.

The CPI leader also spelt out his concerns with regard to the environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and wanted the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to follow international standards by performing a public assessment on the safety of the proposed plant before granting it clearance.

He added that Areva's promise to build the plant at half the price at which it was building similar reactors elsewhere did not seem plausible to his party.

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