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Govt to consider additional safeguards at Jaitapur, CPI(M) asks for halt

The government also said it will take "all precautions" to ensure safety of the proposed nuclear reactors in Jaitapur on the Ratnagiri coast in Maharashtra which has come under attack from social and environmental activists.

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As Japan battled to stop a nuclear catastrophe, Government today said additional environmental safeguards at the proposed Jaitapur atomic plant can be considered while the CPI(M) demanded an immediate halt to the project.

The government also said it will take "all precautions" to ensure safety of the proposed nuclear reactors in Jaitapur on the Ratnagiri coast in Maharashtra which has come under attack from social and environmental activists.

"...Based on the technical reviews the NPCIL does, we will certainly be in touch with them and if additional safeguards have to be built in as part of the environmental clearance, we will certainly look at it," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said.

Jairam was responding to a question whether government is going to have a relook at the Jaitapur project amid demands for a reconsideration in the wake of damages to a nuclear facility in Japan that has triggered radioactive leaks.

He said the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is having a relook at all safety systems and designs.

"This is appropriately a subject that has to be dealt with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board," the minister said, adding "the nuclear catastrophe(in Japan) is a matter of concern for all of us."

Jairam while addressing a conclave on Business and Climate Change however said India should "go beyond the immediate crisis" that has hit the nuclear industry and recognise the nuclear option.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Government will take "all precautions" to ensure safety of the proposed nuclear reactors in Jaitapur. The 9,900 MW(6x 1,650 MW) project will be the world's largest nuclear power plant once built.

"The prime minister made a statement (on Jaitapur) in Parliament yesterday. We will take all precautions," Shinde said.

The CPI(M) while demanding an immediate halt to the Jaitapur project said the crisis in nuclear reactors in Japan warranted a re-examination of the project.

It also claimed that the imported European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) from French company 'Areva' have not been commissioned anywhere in the world and questions are being raised about the reliability and safety of these "more expensive" new reactors.

"Given the crisis which has developed in some of the nuclear power reactors in Japan after the tsunami and the threat of a meltdown, it is imperative that the environmental clearance given to the project be withdrawn. The issue should be re-examined," CPI(M) politburo said in a statement.

The party polit bureau calls for an "immediate halt to the Jaitapur nuclear power project, it said, adding the locals have been "totally opposed" to the location of the plant and refused to accept the forcible acquisition of their lands.

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