The 9900 MWe Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project has received environmental clearance, but with 35 stringent conditions attached. An agreement between French nuclear equipment supplier Areva and the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd is expected to be signed during French president Nicholas Sarkozy's visit to India next month.
Union minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh announced the clearance during a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday. Of the 35 safeguards, 23 specific conditions would have to be met within a year's time, he said.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was also present, termed it a historic day and said that the project would see an investment of Rs1 lakh crore. ''It is the largest engineering project ever conceived in the country and the kind of investment it will bring is unimaginable,'' he said.
This is the second big environmental clearance in a row for the state after Ramesh's ministry cleared the decks for the Navi Mumbai international airport last week.
The project involves setting up six units of 1650 MWe capacity each. The first unit is expected to be commissioned by 2017-18. Areva will supply uranium and reactor units, according to a booklet released by NPCIL.
The project will help Maharashtra reduce its energy deficit. ''Nearly 1000 hectares of land has already been acquired for the project,'' Chavan said.
On the grievances of the local community, Chavan said that the state government had formed an empowered group of ministers to enhance the compensation.