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Jaitapur N-project: No rethink, but more safeguards, says Jairam Ramesh

PTI     April 15, 2011
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday ruled out any "re-think" on the proposed mega nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra but pressed for a separate safety system for each of its six atomic reactors in the light of the tsunami-triggered nuclear crisis in Japan.

At the same time, Ramesh said a Committee is reviewing environmental procedures in power plants and refineries located in the coastal areas to assess how the country is equipped to deal with emergencies like the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

"It(Jaitapur) stays. There is no re-think. What happened in Fukushima is a wake up call for all of us. We have to draw an intelligent limit. We have set up a committee to review all environmental procedures in plants--power plants refineries which are located in the country's coastal areas. This is to assess how equipped we are to deal with emergencies like this (Fukushima)," Ramesh, who was in Mumbai to discuss various issues related to environmental clearances for projects undertaken in Maharashtra, told reporters.

Ramesh also made it clear there is no question of the country abandoning nuclear power.

"We need nuclear power as an alternative source of energy. India cannot abandon nuclear power. We have three per cent of our electricity generated from nuclear sources, now we have to increase it to 6 per cent by 2020 and roughly 14 per cent by 2030," he said.

Stressing that nuclear power is the best option he added that "I have not called for a re-think (of the 9,900 MW Jaitapur project), I have called for a deeper thinking."

The minister said that he had suggested to the Central government not to interlink security systems of all the six reactors at Jaitapur plant.

"However, we need to think of separate safety system for every unit. We are looking at the safety issues. The units must be independent of each other to avoid a situation like the recent nuclear disaster in Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan," Ramesh said.

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