In a bid to clear “misunderstandings” over the Jaitapur nuclear power project, the Maharashtra government would be inviting local leaders, non-governmental organisations, experts and the media for a discussion here, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told journalists here on Wednesday.
“Some people are opposing the project in principle; their opposition is to nuclear energy itself. Some have misunderstandings regarding the impact on the fish and over waste fuel. We will call MLAs from the region, non-government organisations, atomic energy experts and the media for a discussion to address the concerns,” he said.
The Chief Minister would be visiting the plant site. Meanwhile, a Congress delegation visited Jaitapur on Wednesday. Mr. Chavan said the delegation represented the party and not the government.
“The Congress is trying to understand the concerns there,” he said, pointing to a politicisation of the issue.
“We will discuss and take note of all the points, but the politicisation should be avoided,” he said.
“The people who stand to lose their land should get the maximum compensation from the NPCIL [Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.].”
Asked about the choice of the French supplier Areva, Mr. Chavan denied the charge that the reactors were rejected the world over.
“The Areva has good technology. It's not a decision of the Maharashtra government. The State has given land to the Centre to build nuclear reactors. The NPCIL decides which technology and company to choose. India is signing agreements with Russia too,” he said.
Asked if the project would be relocated, he said: “The Centre's site selection committee had selected Jaitapur after surveying locations across the country. So the project will happen. There are nuclear reactors in Tarapur. Maharashtra is experienced in nuclear power projects.”
On Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh's statement that his Ministry was not responsible for the radiological aspect of the plant, Mr. Chavan said: “He [Jairam Ramesh] is right in saying that his Ministry is not responsible. Responsibility for the radiological aspect of a nuclear power plant is with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).”