Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant
COFACE is considering funding the world’s largest nuclear power plant, in India
The Jaitapur nuclear power plant - history and current situation
The Fukushima disaster of 2011 thrust this project in to standby. Funding has not yet been secured and there has been no due diligence process.
COFACE approached to finance project.
France and India sign agreement to build 2 reactors in Jaitapur.
Local demonstrations against the project – one protestor killed.
Fukushima disaster – Jaitapur project on hold.
The Jaitapur project
There are plans to build two nuclear reactors in Jaitapur, Maharastra state, India. Although the deal is on hold in the aftermath of Fukushima, if it does go ahead India could be left with a nuclear plant that is ill suited to the ‘high risk’ earthquake zone of Jaitapur coast, and spiralling costs. The project would make Jaitapur home to the world’s largest nuclear power plant.
How are ECAs involved
The French ECA COFACE has been approached to fund the nuclear reactors, which are to be built by French company AREVA. COFACE has not yet entered in to any formal agreement on the project. NGOs are concerned that the safety standards expected of European nuclear projects will not be upheld in a nuclear project in the notoriously weak regulatory environment of India.
Displacement and human rights problems
As a direct result of the project, 770 families would lose their land entirely and another 150 families would lose part of their farming land. Since the power plant was proposed in February 2009, the local population, farmers and fishermen have been protesting against the project because they do not want to lose their land or livelihood.
Jaitapur is classified as a ‘high risk’ earthquake zone, meaning it is prone to strong earthquakes. A number of earthquakes have been recorded in the area just in the last 20 years, with the strongest reaching 6.3 on the Richter scale.
European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs)
The two nuclear reactors planned for Jaitapur are to be European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs). EPRs have been hailed as the next generation of nuclear reactors. Although numerous technical and safety problems have been identified with the technology, primarily due to attempts to reduce costs leading to use of inferior components and inadequate safety procedures. Official estimates of the cost of the two Jaitapur EPR units come in at a figure less than half cost of building the reactors in Europe or Canada. As most of the price comes from engineering equipment and heavy components (not labour), this does not bode well for the ultimate safety of the Jaitapur plant.
Lack of transparency
Public hearings for the Jaitapur plant have not been transparent, with meetings held in English despite most villagers not speaking that language, and no provision of an environmental impact assessment. India’s Atomic Energy Act (1962) does not guarantee access to any information, and it is not possible to file a request about the plant under India’s Right to Information Act.
Visit the Banktrack Jaitapur project page