August 24, 2008

N-Plant Site in Gujarat Approved

By Rajiv Shah

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat's hope of getting an 8,000-MW mega nuclear power station is coming true as the Nuclear Power Corporation has approved a site between Sosiya and Mithi Virdi on the Saurashtra coast for the plant.

An NTC team, headed by its CMD Dr SK Jain, had visited a total of 20 proposed sites all over India, including four in Gujarat. "NTC had conveyed to us that two other sites have also been short- listed, one in West Bengal and the other in Tamil Nadu," an official said.

Added state energy minister Saurabh Patel: "We always knew the site near Mithi Virdi was the best. The project now awaits Union Cabinet's approval."

The coveted project would mean an investment of whopping Rs 50,000 crore by the NTC spread over 10 years. It entails setting up eight units of 1,000 MW each. If all goes well, the first unit might start functioning as early as 2012, sources said.

The NTC had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gujarat at the last Vibrant Gujarat summit in January 2007 for the N- power project.

State officials say that nearly one third of the power, or about 2,600 MW, would be given to Gujarat which would require enormous quantity of power as nearly 55 special economic zones (SEZs) are proposed to be set up in the state. Already, 25 of these have been notified, which suggests that industrial and commercial power needs, currently stationary at around 10,000 MW, would shoot up sharply.

Officials said, the site was selected after ascertaining that there were no seismic faults in the region. Besides, a nuclear power plant would require huge quantity of water for cooling, which would be easily available from the sea through a desalination plant.

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