The Indian government has started looking for a suitable site in coastal Andhra Pradesh for setting up nuclear power plants with Russian assistance, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
"The site selection committee of the government is exploring the possibility of identifying a suitable coastal site in Andhra Pradesh for locating nuclear power plants with Russian cooperation," Minister of State for Atomic Energy Jitendra Singh told the Rajya sabha in a written reply.
While the Andhra Pradesh government has given its consent for conducting technical studies required to identify potential coastal sites, sections of the local population and certain groups have opposed locating nuclear power plants near Kavali, the union minister said.
"Some sections of local people and certain groups have expressed their opposition to location of nuclear power plants near Kavali in Andhra Pradesh due to apprehensions about safety of the nuclear power plants and loss of traditional means of livelihood," Singh said.
"An extensive public outreach programme, including public hearings and consultations, to spread awareness about nuclear power and all its related aspects based on a multipronged approach has been instituted in a structured manner," he added.
Sources in Russian state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom, the builders of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu, confirmed that negotiations on the matter are underway and no official decision has been taken as yet on the site.
"However, there is a pre-arrangement that the reactor units at this second site will have a bigger capacity than the 1000 MW units each at Kudankulam. The probable design for the second project will be the Russian made VVER Generation 3 units of 1,200 MW capacity," the source said.
VVER generation nuclear reactor is a series of pressurised water reactor designs originally developed in the Soviet Union, and its name is transliterated from Russian Vodo-Vodyanoi Energetichesky Reaktor or Water-Water Power Reactor.
Meanwhile, "in-principle" approval has been granted for setting up six light water nuclear reactors at Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh in cooperation with the US, Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a separate reply.
"Pre-project activities including land acquisition, obtaining statutory clearances and detailed site investigations are continuing at the site," the minister said.
"In parallel, discussions on the techno-commercial aspects with M/s Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) to arrive at a project proposal have also started," he added.