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Weeks after the government announced that U.S. company Westinghouse’s Nuclear Power Project (NPP), planned in Gujarat’s Mithi Virdi, is being moved to Andhra Pradesh, sources confirmed to The Hindu that Russian-owned Rosatom will build its next phase of six reactors in Andhra Pradesh as well.
With other States like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra facing local protests over NPPs, the government is now pinning its mega-plans for generating the ‘clean’ energy on coastal Andhra Pradesh. In fact, if all the projects under consideration from Russia, the U.S. and NPCIL were to actually go through, NPPs in Andhra could account for more than 30,000 MW of the Modi government’s goal of 63,000 MW installed capacity by 2031. The site for the next set of six Russian reactors was discussed during Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s recent visit to Russia, where he met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Sources told The Hindu the project site identified, believed to be Kavali in Nellore district, could be announced during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in October.
“It’s huge,” said Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had led the delegation to Russia to strengthen bilateral trade. “In Andhra Pradesh, six nuclear centres are going to be created, totalling thousands of megawatts in capacity. Of course, Andhra Pradesh will have both American and Russian participation in nuclear energy generation, but the Russians will be the first to “Make in India” in the nuclear sphere in Andhra,” Ms. Sitharaman told The Hindu.
The “American participation” referred to is the plan for Toshiba-Westinghouse to set up 6 AP1000 reactors of 1,100 megawatts each, a proposal that had run into trouble in Gujarat due to “stiff protests from farmers” during the land acquisition process for 777 hectares, a senior official in the Gujarat government said. In addition, Tata, Adani and Essar, which are the largest power producers in the State, were never comfortable with another giant plant being set up in the State,” the official said.
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