India’s Union Ministry of Environments and Forests on Tuesday granted environmental clearance to a 9,900-MW nuclear power plant proposed for construction by state-owned Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. (NPCIL) in collaboration with French firm AREVA.
The proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant—comprising six 1,650-MW EPRs—has been proposed to be set up in a “phased manner in twin unit construction mode over a period of 15 to 17 years,” NPCIL said. The plant would be built at a designated site at Madban village in the Rarnagiri District in Maharashtra State. NPCIL, which called the ministry’s clearance of the project an “important milestone,” said it expects the first EPR unit to begin generating power as early as 2017.
An agreement between AREVA and NCPIL is expected to be signed during French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s visit to India next month. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh was quoted by the Times of India as saying that nuclear energy was a cleaner option compared to coal.
“Today 38% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the electricity generation sector. If we wish to maintain a [gross domestic product] growth rate of 9% every year, then our power sector needs to grow at 7% annually,” he reportedly said.