Kaiga nuclear power plant expansion gets green nod

Kaiga nuclear power plant expansion gets green nod

Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) has given its approval for setting up fifth and sixth units at Kaiga nuclear power station near here, despite the stiff opposition by the locals and the environmentalists.

In a public hearing meeting, December last, the villagers and the environmentalists had severely opposed the expansion plans.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) Director B C Pathak had sent a proposal to the Centre for expansion of Kaiga nuclear plant. The Economic Advisory Council (EAC), in its May 24 meeting, approved the expansion plan albeit with 17 specific and 19 general conditions.

Additional Director of MoEF Dr Shruthi Rai Bharadwaj has written to the NPCIL director, on Sept 5, informing about the clearance issued to the expansion plan.

The letter states: Most of the villagers are in favour of expansion as they believe that new units will generate more employment and augment local infrastructure while a few have expressed fear that expansion would increase pollution and thereby decrease agri productivity. The Economic Advisory Council has taken note of these issues.

Over 8,700 trees on 120 hectares will face the axe for the project. In order to compensate tree loss, the competent authorities should develop 732 hectares of forests in Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts, the council had informed the NPCIL.

Also, as per one of the conditions laid down by the EAC, half of the power generated by the new units should be supplied to Karnataka.

Centre suspected of tweaking KSPCB report 

Meanwhile, environmentalist Anant Hegde Ashisara has charged that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has not considered the public opinion while giving its clearance for the Kaiga expansion plans.
"In the public meeting held on Dec 15, 2018, the locals and the environmentalists had severely opposed the proposed expansion of Kaiga nuclear plant. The issue of tree felling did not come up in the meeting. Also, there are doubts about the Centre tweaking the report submitted by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on the said project," alleged Hegde Ashisara of Vrikshalaksha Andolan.