Say water-guzzling plant to worsen crisis

The first nuclear power plant project being set up in Gorakhpur village of Fatehabad district has failed to enthuse villagers who blamed the Centre for not fulfilling its promise of giving jobs to affected persons and developing the village.

Process Began In 1984

In 1984, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd started a survey in Fatehabad for a proposed 2800 MW N-plant

In 2007, the state government assured the Centre to provide land and water for the project after which the process to acquire land started in Gorakhpur and adjoining villages

The government acquired around 1,500 acres in Gorakhpur, Kajlaheri and Badopal villages

In 2014, then PM Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone of this project, which was initially proposed to be commissioned in 2023 in the first phase

Calling it a burden on the country’s exchequer, environmental activists said the country had surplus power from various other sources and there was no urgent need to drain massive funds on this project. Experts claimed that given the pace of work, it would take another 10 years to start operations. Local residents said their apprehensions were yet to be addressed by the authorities of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “While NPCIL officials term it absolutely safe, anti-nuclear activists describe it as a threat to the environment and a risk to the human and livestock habitation in the region,” said Subhash Punia of Aylaki village in the district.

Punia, a member of the Parmanu Sanyantra Virodhi Morcha, said besides posing the risk of radiation, a nuclear plant remained a constant threat of an accident. “A nuclear plant is a water guzzler as it requires lot of water to generate energy. Being an agriculture state, Haryana is known as one of the biggest contributors to the food grain kitty of the country. It is already facing water shortage for irrigation purposes,” he said.

Soumya Dutta, an environmental activist, said nuclear waste remained radioactive for long time. “The gases emitted by the plant are radioactive and the water discharged back from the cooling plants also contain radioactive elements. It requires huge amount of water,” he said.

Dutta claimed that given the power scenario, the nuclear plant appeared to be a massive wastage of funds. “It is going to put a huge financial burden on the country,” he said, adding that as per the available requirement, India needed around 1.90 lakh MW, but the country was generating 3.95 lakh MW. “So where is the need to set up a nuclear power plant, which needs huge funds? Besides, the Centre has put the thrust on tapping the potential of solar energy,” he said. PS Tomar, a senior NPCIL official at Gorakhpur plant, said the work was going on at the plant.