Unclear nuclear answers

At a small gathering yesterday (Feb 8) evening ostensibly called to provide the head of the French Atomic Energy Commission, Bernard Bigot, the opportunity to give safety assurances on the European Pressurised Reactor complex that the French Co., Areva, will construct at Jaitapur on the Konkan coast, the main safety feature he explained was the “islanding” of the “hard core” of the six reactors, each of 1,000 MW capacity, that will enable them to withstand “peak ground acceleration” of 0.25g should an earthquake strike.  Srikumar Banerjee, Chmn, AEC, who was chairing the Meet, said he was entirely unaware of the “hard core” concept which, he said, he had heard the first time only that morning in meetings with Bigot. Bigot was unable, however, to even hazard a guess about what the unit-cost of electricity produced by the Jaitapur complex will be — “it remains to be negotiated”, he said, as the final contract is yet to be signed. But R.B. Grover of DAE, the chief Indian interlocuter was confident it’d not exceed Rs 2.70 per unit that is the laid down standard for electricity from all sources. That the Jaitapur power will be available at this price sounds a bit fantastical to me! Grover also ventured that NPCIL and Indian Companies will be responsible for 40% of the work by value.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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