BHEL signs MoU with EDF France for collaboration on Jaitapur NPP

Mumbai: The government-owned Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL) on Tuesday said that it has signed an MoU with France’s state-owned company Electricite de France, S.A., for collaboration on the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) in Ratnagiri.

In regulatory filings with the NSE and the BSE, the BHEL said that it will “explore the opportunity to maximise the local content of the JNPP”, being set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL).

The JNPP would comprise six European Pressurised Reactions (EPRs) of 1,650 MWe each, slated to come up in the coastal village of Jaitapur and others in Maharashtra.

The BHEL and EDF would also examine “larger collaboration for the European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), and for the NUWARD SMR (Smaller Modular Reactor)”.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, BHEL or NPCIL officials were not available to elaborate on these aspects of the MoU, though the day’s development suddenly brought alive the issue again in the coastal Konkan.

Once completed, the JNPP site would be India’s largest generating 9,900 MW electricity and among the biggest in the world.

Envisaged in 2005, the JNPP has encountered huge protests and opposition from the locals, particularly the fisher-folk, who feel threatened that their livelihood would be hit badly.

One of the prominent activists, Forum Against Disastrous Projects in Konkan Convenor Vaishali Patil said that “even today, the locals are 100 percent strongly opposed to the project” and would not allow it to come up at any cost.

“If, after 19 years, the project is still at agreement signing stage, then is there any seriousness even on the part of the government that they will construct it even in the next 50 years,” Patil countered.

The Konkan Bachao Samiti (Save Konkan Committee) Co-Convenor Adwait Pednekar pointed out that though “|there are no ground-level protests currently”, the people of Konkan region are still vehemently against the JNPP for the larger and long-term consequences.

“There are also issues of the high cost of power that would be produced here that would entail additional government subsidies and it is suspected that the JNPP may end up being a white elephant,” Pednekar said.

Both Patil and Pednekar aver, that though the project affected persons (PAPs) of Madban and surrounding villages have reluctantly accepted the compensation for the lands acquired from them, “by no stretch of imagination can it be inferred that they are in favour of the JNPP”.

Pednekar emphatically added that the fishers from Sakhari-Nate fishing village along the Jaitapur Creek – who shall be the worst-hit – have not been treated as PAPs or given any compensation by the authorities. Presently, the JNPP complex comprises a boundary wall, certain internal roads and a field office to oversee the operations there.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

–IANS

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