AP to acquire 2,000 acres for Kovvada nuclear plant

Rs 60,000 cr project involves construction of six reactors

Brushing aside widespread public concerns over the impact of nuclear power on environment, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to go ahead with land acquisition for the 6,000 Mwe nuclear power plant at Kovvada in the north coastal district of Srikakulam.

The government has issued orders for acquiring nearly 2,000 acres of land, including 600 acres of private land, for construction of light water reactors for the nuclear plant being set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).  The project was approved by the Central government in 2005. The land acquisition order followed a proposal submitted by NPCIL for acquisition of 2,436.77 acres spread over five villages in Srikakulam district, bordering Odisha.

The land would be utilized for reactors, township for NPCIL employees and rehabilitation of families displaced due to the project, the officials said.

The district administration had requested the government to declare these villages ‘project affected zone’. The move comes in the backdrop of raging protests over the Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu. The government constituted an eleven-member team and appointed 28 officials on contract for the purpose of land acquisition.

The proposed nuclear plant has raised the hackles of local farmers, opposition parties and environmentalists who argue that it would cause pollution and large-scale displacement.

“The proposed nuclear reactors at Kovvada are untested and could be unsafe. It is unfortunate that India has embarked on a nuclear adventure by opening the floodgates to foreign reactors, without ensuring that matching arrangements exist for an independent regulatory oversight. The Centre has shown utter disregard to public opinion,” said EAS Sarma, a former Union Energy Secretary.

The ambitious Rs 60,000 crore plant involves construction of six nuclear reactors with the capacity of each unit varying from 1000 MWe to 1250 MWe. Being developed with US technical know-how, the project requires 9,000 acres of land.

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