VIJAYAWADA: The fears of the people living in the border area of Nellore and Prakasam districts seem to be coming true, with the Centre not ruling out the establishment of a nuclear power plant at Kavali in Nellore district, in spite of strong opposition from locals.
Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh replied thus to a question from YSRCP leader V Vijayasai Reddy who wanted to know whether Russia’s Rosatom would set up a nuclear plant in Nellore.
At present, the Site Selection Committee of the Government is identifying a suitable coastal site for setting up the nuclear power plant, Singh said during a debate on the Budget in the Rajya Sabha. Russian news agency Sputnik International had reported in the past that, Rosatom, which built the Kudankulam Plant in Tamil Nadu, proposed to build Nuclear Plant in Andhra Pradesh, most probably at Kavali in Nellore district with nuclear reactors of 1,200 MW capacity.
Environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists are up in arms against the proposed plant. “We are already facing weather vagaries in the south coast due to the thermal power plants in the district. The proposed nuclear power plant will further worsen the situation,” said Dr N V Ramanaiah from Jana Vignana Vedika, urging State government to reconsider its decision of allowing the plant.
The Union Minister on Thursday had clarified that since some locals were apprehensive about their safety and the loss of traditional means of livelihood if the plant was set up, an extensive public outreach programme — including hearings and consultations — to spread awareness about the project will be conducted. The State had already given its consent for technical studies to identify potential coastal sites for the nuclear power plant, but the Minister did not specify Kavali as the location.
The proposal for the nuclear power plant in addition to the Kovvada Nuclear Power Plant in Srikakulam district was mooted in December 2015 and during his visit to Russia, CM N Chandrababu Naidu had agreed to it. The Kovvada Power Plant, for which the required 2,400 acres of land is being acquired, will have six nuclear reactors with 1,000 MW each.
The construction of nuclear power plant is expected to commence in 2018. Meanwhile, a visit by the Site Selection Committee to collect soil samples has made Allur locals worried.