Mumbai: Continued protests against the Jaitapur nuclear power project have now forced Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to visit the area.
While environmental and compensation concerns dominated this open house session conducted by the State government in Mumbai in January.
Tough questions are now being raised about the technology, particularly the choice of European Pressurised Reactor or EPR.
Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Dr A Gopalkrishnan said, "The EPR is never built anywhere and it has not been tried by anyone. It is dumped on the people of Jaitapur and they are the guinea pigs for this particular reactor. Patch the cost of the EPR will not be less than Rs 20 crore per microwatt."
Authorities at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India have defended the choice of reactor.
Project Director, Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, CB Jain said, "EPR is an untested reactor - I do not agree. It is not a reactor newly designed. It is an evolved reactor from proven technology and proven reactors which are operating in France and Germany patch electricity generated from the such units. When it starts operation should be compatible at rate which will be available from thermal and other units available in that area."
The NPCIL has been distributing booklets to dispel what they call - misconceptions about the project. But the multi-pronged opposition to the project over technology, environmental concerns and compensation packages is hampering negotiations.
The difficulty in explaining the complexities of a nuclear power project are adding to the confusion.