The government has decided to increase the nuclear power generation capacity of atomic reactors at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh by nearly 20 per cent, and a fresh Environment Impact Assessment is being carried out in this regard. In a written response to a question in Rajya Sabha, MoS Jitendra Singh said the government has revised the ‘in-principle approval’ of the site at Kovvada for setting up nuclear power stations of 6×1000 MW to 6×1280 MW. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) comes under the PMO.
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If the plan materialises, Kovvada will be the second site in the country to generate nuclear power at this capacity. The reactors at Jaitapur, being built by French company EDF, have a capacity of 1,650 MW, while the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, being built with Russian assistance, has the generation capacity of 1,000 MW.
Earlier, US company Westinghouse, which is to build six AP-1000 reactors at the site had come up with a proposal of reactors with a capacity of 1000 MW each. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), a PSU of DAE, will be the plant operator for the Kovvada site.
“Fresh Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies as per the guidelines and approved Terms of reference (ToR) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change are being carried out. Public hearing is a part of the process of obtaining environmental clearance for the project,” Singh said. The minister said the DAE was also holding exploratory discussions with other public sector companies, including the Indian Railways in this regard.
The government had brought amendments to the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to enable joint ventures with other PSUs. “So far, three joint venture companies—Anushakti Vidyut Nigam Ltd (NOLCIL-NTPC Ltd), NPCIL-Indian Oil Nuclear Energy Corporation Ltd (NPCIl-IOCL) and NPCIL-NALCO have been incorporated (for building nuclear reactors),” he added.