Jaitapur nuclear power project stays, asserts Jairam Ramesh

Jaitapur project has been strongly opposed by the local population.

Updated: Apr 19, 2011, 10:26 AM IST

Mumbai: The controversial 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra will be implemented despite all hurdles, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said Friday, clarifying that in his letter to the Prime Minister he had only asked for a "deeper think" on nuclear projects.
Ramesh said that in his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he had not sought a "rethink" but a "deeper think" on nuclear projects after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

"Fukushima is a wake up call. I believe in nuclear power and we cannot afford to ignore it. I didn`t mean we should abandon the projects, Jaitapur stays," Ramesh asserted while speaking to mediapersons here.

He said that a committee headed by AE Muthunaigam has been appointed to look into the issues concerning environmental safety of all coastal nuclear power stations.

However, he stressed on the need to think of a safety system for the six reactors to be set up in Jaitapur, which he said, should not be interlinked but should be independent, keeping in view the Fukushima example.

On Jaitapur, Ramesh said his ministry had already granted clearance to the project and whatever be the opposition, the government would go ahead with it taking into consideration all aspects of environment and security norms.

The Jaitapur project, coming up in collaboration with French company Areva, has been strongly opposed by the local population as well as major Opposition parties like Shiv Sena and many NGOs.

"We need to increase public trust in nuclear energy and take into confidence the gram sabha in Jaitapur, with a more effective public outreach programme," Ramesh said.

On the occasion, the minister also announced environmental clearance to the 32-km long Phase II of Mumbai Metro between Kandivli and Mankhurd.

IANS