IndiPublished: Friday, Feb 15, 2013, 8:00 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
India and France on Thursday reviewed the progress on the controversial Jaitapur nuclear project, which is being constructed by French nuclear giant Areva and India’s public sector nuclear company Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), even as issues related to cost of this this multi-billion dollar deal remains pending.
“Today, President Hollande and I exchanged views on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest. We reviewed progress on the Jaitapur nuclear power project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed,” prime minister Manmohan Singh said.
India had signed agreements for the 9,900 MW nuclear power project in 2010 but owing to different factors such as protests from locals, difficulty in land acquisition, liability in case of accident and cost of the project, it has not moved ahead a great deal. Environmentalists have also critically opposed its construction voicing concern about seismic activity in the area specially after the Fukushima incident in Japan.
However, the Indian government has reiterated its commitment to go ahead with the project several times but has also admitted that there are issues pertaining to the cost of the project and technology.
In a joint statement released here on Thursday, French president Francois Hollande and Manmohan Singh expressed satisfaction regarding the project. “In the field of energy, the leaders expressed satisfaction in regard to the ongoing collaborative projects in R&D on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and agreed to further strengthen bilateral civil nuclear scientific cooperation,” the joint statement said.
“Recalling the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 4 February, 2009 between NPCIL and Areva for setting up of 6 x 1650 MWe EPR units at Jaitapur, the leaders reviewed the status in regard to the first two EPR units and noted that NPCIL and AREVA were engaged actively in techno-commercial discussions. They expressed hope for the expeditious conclusion of the negotiations. It was emphasized that the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur would incorporate the highest safety standards,” the joint statement noted.
Meanwhile, sources in the central government told DNA: “There has been satisfactory progress on talks regarding the nuclear project. As far as safety issues are concerned, Areva is bringing the latest technology. And even before the reactor at India would be built they would have built nuclear reactor using same latest technologies at several other places. So by the time it would be built in India all those things the company would learn while building those could be incorporated in Jaitapur plant.”
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