The site of the future Jaitapur nuclear plant, in India, is guarded by the police, 20 April 2011

 

Several associations wrote a letter to Nicolas Sarkozy to request France not to support the nuclear power plant project in India…

It has been months since Indians in Jaitapur are protesting, sometimes facing violent repression from the authorities, against the nuclear plant which is to be built on the coast of Maharashtra in Western India. This plant will have 6 Areva reactors, for a total capacity of 9,900 megawatts, which would make it the biggest nuclear complex in the world. But after Fukushima catastrophe, the seismicity of the region worries the people and the eco-friendly associations, who have addressed on 12 July a letter to Nicolas Sarkozy so that France doesn’t give the export guarantee that it is supposed to grant.

Too many similarities with Fukushima

For Les amis de la Terre (The Friends of the Earth), Greepeace and Reseau Sortir du nucleaire (Network to abandon nukes), the plant project in Jaitapur presents all the risks of a nuclear accident: “It would be an extreme folly to support the construction of one of the biggest nuclear complexes in the world, especially in a high seismicity zone, in a country with low nuclear standards, huge problems of corruption, and which doesn’t have an independent regulating body, nor experience in management of such reactors”, they wrote to Nicolas Sarkozy.

The ghost of Fukushima is haunting the Indian plant. According to the authors of the letter, the similarities with the Japanese plant make it vulnerable to severe accidents. Among other worries, the location of the pools of spent nuclear fuel outside the confinement gate, the proximity of the control room with the reactor which would make it inaccessible in case of important radioactive leaks, and the position of the spare generators near the floor, which would make them vulnerable in case of flood.

Two to six reactors provided by Areva

The associations also wrote that the ecological impact studies have not been communicated to the local people: “The project has thus led to important social conflicts and to a strong local opposition. Last April, a protestor has been killed by the police and more than 1,500 persons were detained after protesting against Jaitapur project”.

Last April, the Minister of Environment, Jairam Ramesh, confirmed the intention of New Delhi to proceed with the construction of six reactors in Jaitapur, for a cost of 10 billion dollars. The French group Areva has signed two deals in December 2010 to provide at least two EPR reactors to India as well as combustible for 25 years. President Nicolas Sarkozy, then on an official visit in India, had commented that the selling of two reactors for the Jaitapur site was a “prelude to a series of six”.

 

Source: http://www.20minutes.fr/article/759822/jaitapur-un-candidat-premier-choix-devenir-second-fukushima

 

Translated from French by Dalel Benbabaali