Allaying security concerns over nuclear power projects, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that India will need to have atomic power as part of its over all energy mix to keep up economic growth momentum. The best safety measures were being adopted for upcoming nuclear projects across the country, he said.
Laying the foundation stone for a Rs 23,502-crore nuclear power project at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district of Haryana, Singh said the country will have to use a comprehensive mix of energy sources that includes “clean” and “dependable” nuclear power. “The average growth during the UPA tenure has been 7.9 per cent.
However, we can maintain this tempo of growth only when we are able to supply energy, particularly power, to industries, households and agricultural fields,” he said, addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone for the Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana at the project site, 160 km from the national capital.
The 2,800 MWe (mega watt electric) project is envisaged in two phases, with each phase comprising two indigenously-designed Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), each of 700 MWe capacity.
Observing that “a long way has to be covered to meet our growing power demands,” Singh said, “We have to utilise all available energy sources including hydro, thermal, gas, wind, solar and nuclear power.” He said India will need more international cooperation in coping with its energy requirements.
The reactors to be set up in Haryana are also being installed at two other sites in the country, he added. The proposed reactors at the Gorakhpur site are similar to the four 700-MWe PHWRs currently under construction at Kakrapar (Gujarat) and Rawatbhata (Rajasthan), based on natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as moderator and coolant.
In the first phase, 1400 MW units will be completed by 2020-21, Singh said. He said environmental concerns had already been addressed. Allaying fears of displacement of people, he said those giving their land will be given an annual royalty for the next 33 years in addition to the compensation amount. Thousands of people are also expected to get employment during the first phase of the project through contractual assignments, he said.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) was going to spend Rs 100 crore on various development projects in the area in which the state government would also contribute.