VISAKHAPATNAM: Stating that nuclear energy is not only extremely dangerous, but is much more expensive than conventional power, CPI(M) politburo member Prakash Karat today vehemently opposed the proposed nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Srikakulam district.
Karat also said that the nuclear reactors to be sourced from the US-based company Westinghouse would prove to be "white elephants", even as the American firm would gain from it. He was speaking at a national-seminar on 'No Nuclear Power Plant in Kovvada', organised by CPM at Andhra University here today, where the party passed a resolution to intensify the people's movement to fight against the proposed plant in the coming days.
"Nuclear energy is not only extremely dangerous for future generations, but it is actually far more expensive than power from conventional sources. Any mishap in the proposed nuclear power plant could have a devastating impact on people from Chatrapur in Odisha to Kakinada of East Godavari," the former CPI(M) general secretary said.
According to Karat, the estimated investment for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd's (NPCIL) proposed 6,000 MW (6 reactors of 1,000 MW) nuclear power plant at Kovvada is around Rs 2.8 lakh crore. This translates into Rs 42 crore per MW or bout seven times the cost of coal-based plant and there will be huge financial burden on consumers as they will have to cough up Rs 14 per unit.
"The government has to invest in gas, hydro, solar, wind and coal-based power plants for safety of people and to meet the power crisis instead of setting up dangerous nuclear power plant," he suggested. Anti-nuclear power activist Vivek Monteiro, former Union Energy Secretary EAS Sarma and few others opposed the project saying that even developed countries are not setting up nuclear power plants due to the inherent dangers.
The proposed plant at Kovvada would displace over 10,000 people and would affect the livelihood of farmers and fishermen and the Centre is going for nuclear power plants for the benefit of US firm, they said.