Seven sites identified for nuclear parks

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 28 2009, 05:34am hrs
The Government on Friday said it has identified five to seven sites to establish nuclear parks. The site selection committee has identified five to seven sites to establish nuclear parks. One or more American parks can come up at these sites, minister of state in the Prime Ministers Office Prithviraj Chavan said at an Assocham conference on Unleashing the Power of Nuclear Energy here.

Chavan said though the Cabinet have to give its green signal for setting up the sites, the matter was yet to be taken up in the recent Cabinet meetings as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is in-charge of the Department of Atomic Energy, has not been keeping well of late.

One or more of the identified sites would house reactors purchased from the US, under the Indo-US nuclear deal, he said. He said two joint venture agreements have been signed for the manufacture of nuclear power equipmentone with US collaboration and the other with a French company. The minister added that many more would be signed in due course.

He said many nuclear parks would coming up across the country with each one housing four to six atomic plants. Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu is being developed with Russian Collaboration, while French company Areva would develop another one at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

Also, the Centre is exploring possibilities of acquiring Uranium mines in other countries to ensure fuel supply for nuclear reactors in the country.

Ruling out 100% FDIs in nuclear energy, the Minister said private players initially would have to enter Indias nuclear power generation in collaboration with centrally regulated nuclear entities like Nuclear Power Corp. India Ltd. and BARC by taking a minority stake. This could begin at 25-26% and later on at the most it could go upto 49%, Chavan said.

He also informed that the central government will put in a strong regulatory mechanism to regulate its nuclear power generation as it would be essential for safeguard measures that the central government completely controls it.

About amendment to Atomic Power Act of 1962, Chavan said that the draft legislation is ready and amendment to this effect would be passed in the next session of Parliament.

Chavan said it would be difficult to initiate amendments to the Act, if the present government receives the fractured mandate. The Minister said Nuclear Draft Liability Bill is also ready and could be sailed through in the Parliament after the new government is formed.

The UPA government has already ensured that it would set up sufficient transmission network to ensure that nuclear energy is transmitted in most efficient manner.