New Delhi: After the various scams, the government’s new worry is the Jaitapur nuclear plant which is being opposed by many. An anti-nuclear group on Thursday alleged that the government was purchasing six "untested" and "unsafe" European Pressurised Reactors about which regulators in Britain and US has raised around 3,000 safety issues.

The group termed the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant as a "bad bargain" as according to them it was a bid to help French company Areva, which "is in deep trouble" financially as it had sought USD 4 billion in short-term bailout from France's taxpayers.

According to NGO 'Coalition of Nuclear Disarmament and Peace' (CNDP), the nuclear power plant has become a "great contest of wills" between a conscious public and an "arrogant" officialdom, which has unleashed "savage repression" against peaceful protesters.

A report prepared by CNDP has alleged that the government was promoting an "exorbitantly expensive, inappropriate and extremely hazardous project" based on French company Areva's European Pressurised Reactors (EPR), a technology which is "untested anywhere and has not been cleared by the nuclear regulatory authority of any country, including France".

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, addressing a rally at Jaitapur last week, had dubbed as "100 per cent false" the concerns voiced by those opposed to the nuclear power project.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee had also said that EPRs are safe reactors.

"The world's first EPR, under-construction in Finland is in grave trouble -- delayed by 42 months, 90 per cent over budget and mired in bitter litigation. Finnish, French, US and British nuclear regulators have raised 3,000 safety issues about it.    

"Yet India is planning to install six EPRs with a 9,900 MW capacity at Jaitapur although the Department of Atomic Energy cannot certify that they are safe," the NGO's report, which was released here claimed.

Areva had sold the reactor to Finland.

The report also noted that an expert appointed by French government had found problems in the design of the reactor being built by Areva in France's Flamanville.

Going by the current Finnish estimates, the report claimed, the Jaitapur EPRs' capital cost will be Rs 21 crore per MW compared to Rs 9 crore for domestic reactors and Rs five crore for coal-fired power.

"Jaitapur's electricity will cost Rs 5-8 a unit compared to Rs 2-3 from other sources, including renewables," the CNDP said.

The report claimed that the Jaitapur project will destroy a "unique and stunningly beautiful" ecosystem in the Western Ghats.

It also claimed that the project, spread over 968 hectares, will wipe out five villages which together have a population of 4,000.

After promulgating land acquisition orders in 2007, the report alleged, only 114 of the 2,375 affected families have claimed the compensation offered while others have refused to take the cheques.

"The land acquisition process has been utterly undemocratic and at times, violent," it claimed.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) had labelled 65 per cent of the land as "barren", the report said, claiming that the locals find this "outrageous" because the land is highly fertile.

(Agencies)