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Centre clears four new nuclear plants

NPCIL and Department of Atomic Energy will submit detailed proposals soon

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: One of the four new nuclear power plants, cleared in principle by the Union Cabinet, is going to be located at Jaitapur, near Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) announced on Thursday that four locations had been cleared by the Union Cabinet for additional nuclear plants. Of these three will be near existing plants, that is, at Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu), Kakrapar (Gujarat) and Rawatbhata (Rajasthan). Together, they are expected to add 6,800 MW to the nuclear power capacity.

NPCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy will shortly submit detailed proposals about these plants to the Central Government for approval.

The options being considered are the indigenously designed 700 MW Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) and the Light Water Reactors (LWRs).

A high-power Site Selection Committee will do the selection of the sites for the additional nuclear power stations, states NPCIL. This will include experts from the field of nuclear power and representatives from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

The committee will consider, apart from technical and engineering aspects, environmental and other site-specific issues, the population around the potential sites and electricity demand and supply. NPCIL states: "The whole spectrum of natural calamities, and highly improbable accident conditions, are factored in the site selection and design of these nuclear power plants.... Natural calamities like flooding, tsunami, cyclones and earthquakes are considered ... The grade level of the plant is kept well above the maximum expected flood level. This approach prevented any damage to nuclear power plants at Kalpakkam and Kudankulam due to the recent tsunami."

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