M A I N   N E W S

Punjab bats for nuclear power plant
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
In a major shift in its policy on setting up a nuclear power plant in the state, Punjab will now lobby with the Centre to give it a Light Water Reactor (LWR)-based nuclear power plant. “Experience from across the world shows it is safe and we now know its benefits. I have already made up my mind to take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” the Punjab Chief Minister announced here today.

Upset over Punjab not being allotted any site among the five plants announced last week, Badal said “we should have at least been asked if Punjab was interested”. The Chief Minister said he would take up the issue with the Centre during his next visit and, in the meantime, would write a letter expressing Punjab’s desire to house a nuclear plant in the state. “If the Centre announces one for Punjab, we can meet all the requirements to prepare the infrastructure.”So far, Punjab’s stand on the setting up of a nuclear power plant in the state has been that Punjab was not fit to house a nuclear power plant, first being a border state that makes the plant vulnerable from across the border. Secondly, Punjab has a high-density population, making the state unsafe for housing a nuclear reactor.

During the last Congress regime, the then Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, set aside a suggestion to set up a nuclear power plant in Patiala district saying “such a project cannot be risked where there are a lot of people living in close proximity”.According to the Chief Minister, Punjab was facing a shortfall of 2,379 mega watts of power as the state could only procure from all sources 6,841 MW as compared to the requirement of 9,786 MW. He said the state was preparing to go ahead with drastic measures that would help save 2,350 MW. This would be done by bringing down transmission losses to 15 per cent from the current 22.5 per cent, replacing all conventional lighting in the state with CFLs, replacing meters in rural and semi-urban areas and putting them outside the premises, etc. In terms of revenue, the measures will save Punjab nearly Rs 8,000 crore by the end of next fiscal 2010-11.

The SAD had voted against the UPA government in Parliament on the issue of India-US nuclear deal. The only SAD parliamentarian, Libra, who voted in favour of the deal was expelled from the SAD and he later joined the Congress. India has a civil nuclear agreement in place with the US, France and Russia. So far, India has signed agreements for cooperation in civil nuclear area with seven countries.

The five sites approved by the government for setting up the LWR-based reactors are Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, Haripur in West Bengal, Chhayamithi Virdi in Gujarat and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh. France will help set up the Jaitapur unit, Russia the Kudankulam and Haripur units, while the US will collaborate on setting up the Chhayamithi Virdi and Kovvada reactors.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |