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Site search for nuclear plant
- Mumbai officials await list to start reconnaissance mission

Jamshedpur, Feb. 4: The ball has been set rolling for the state’s first 1,000-MW nuclear power reactor in East Singhbhum district.

Authorities of the Mumbai-based Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI) have sought details of the sites from deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar Burnwal. The state government has appointed Burnwal the nodal officer of the project for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 400 crore.

The functioning of the NPCI, a public sector undertaking, is supervised by the department of atomic energy (DAE). The public sector unit helps states set up nuclear power projects.

The state government took the initiative to set up the nuclear power plant since uranium is found in abundance in the district. “A few days ago, NPCI officials called up Burnwal and discussed the modalities of the project. The latter was informed by NPCI officials that they would visit the district as soon as the authorities shortlist tentative sites for the project and give feedback about these sites,” a district official said.

They hinted that the NPCI authorities have urged Burnwal to speed up the process of site selection.

Burnwal said NPCI had directed him to select at least four sites for the project and submit the details at the earliest. “The unit has despatched a form to the district administration, which we have to fill up and return,” he added.

The district authorities will have to furnish details like the topography of each of the four sites that the latter shortlists, the rock condition of the land, the distance of the land from the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) and provisions for waste disposal. They will also have to specify how far the sites will be from the Subarnarekha.

“I will engage some district officials to select the site as soon as I receive the form. It is expected in the next couple of days,” Burnwal said.

Based on the feedback that NPCI receives from the district authorities, they will decide on the final project site. “A joint team of officials from the DAE and NPCI will visit the district to take stock of the site,” district authorities said.

They hinted that preliminary formalities would be completed by early March. According to the deputy commissioner, preference will be given to sites near the Jadugoda-based UCIL. “Since we will require uranium for power generation, we plan to set up a nuclear power plant where not much will be spent on the transportation of uranium,” Burnwal said.

The district authorities said the state government will be consulted before sending the list of sites to NPCI. “Since it is a dream project, we shall be in touch with the senior officials of the government to seek their suggestions,” district officials added.

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