N-plant with indigenous tech to be ready in 7 yrs

PM lays foundation stone for Rs 20,594-cr project

Almost two years after the Fukushima nuclear accident, India has begun establishing its largest nuclear power plant with indigenous technology at a greenfield site in Haryana, overcoming “radiation fears” of villagers and paying a hefty compensation package to farmers whose land was acquired.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday laid the foundation stone for two 700 mw units of indigenous nuclear reactors developed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). Two additional reactors of 700 mw capacity each at the same site may receive approval in the 13th plan period, by which time the first two units will be operational. 

 The actual construction work will begin in June 2015 after which may take five and a half years for the first unit to be ready and another six months for the second unit. Both units are likely to produce commercial electricity by 2020-21. 

The 2800 mw nuclear power plant in Haryana would be followed by two more 2800 mw nuclear power units at Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan. In addition, a 1400 mw unit will come up at Chutka in Madhya Pradesh.

Despite initial murmurs of protests, land acquisition at the end was a smooth affair as farmers are satisfied with the compensation package, though some of them have gone to the court, hoping to extract more money from NPCIL. 

Before the nuclear power plant project, farmers used to sell an acre of land in and around Gorakhpur in Fatehabad district at a cost of around Rs 8 lakh per acre, which is actually lower than the government rate of Rs 11.65 lakh.

Hefty compensation

“The NPCIL has paid Rs 30.7 lakh per acre. In addition, there was Rs 4 lakh per acre as no litigation allowance and an annual income of Rs 21,000 per acre per year for 33 years with an annual rise of Rs 750 per acre,” Satyanarayan Sharma, a 65-year-old farmer from Gorakhpur village, who gave 2.25 acres for the nuclear power plant project, told Deccan Herald. Cumulatively, the compensation was Rs 46 lakh per acre.

The nuclear energy complex required 1,505 acres , which was obtained from about 700 families. 

“The project will benefit the villagers, who will get job as well as other livelihood options. There will be overall area development,” said Ghanshyam Sharma, 53, a local driver from Gorakhpur village, who does not own any land.

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