Bhubaneswar: Bhapur in Nayagarh district of Orissa was one of the six sites selected by the Central government for the location of a nuclear power plant. That was in the 1980s. The project, however, never even got off the drawing broad.
Almost 20 years later, a Spanish nuclear power plant developer has now approached the Orissa government with a proposal to set up a project in the state. In September, 2006, in a letter to the state energy department, Cala Casa SL has said it was keen to establish a new generation nuclear power plant of a minimum of 2mw on build-own-operate.
The capacity of the proposed plant was to be increased at a later stage to between 40 and 100mw. The company, which authorised Bhubaneswar-based Global Link to negotiate the deal on its behalf, said in its expression of interest that the minimum contract should be for 20-25 years. It would invest 80% in the project. The rest was expected to be borne by the state government, which is yet to respond to the proposal.
Having abundant natural resources like thermal-grade coal and water, Orissa has not concentrated on renewable energy. With surplus power to the tune of 400mw, the state has a problem of plenty, unlike others. State energy minister S N Patro says, “We will take a view over the proposal for nuclear power plant at an appropriate time.” The state has, meanwhile, signed MoUs with as many as 13 power companies for a total capacity of 16,000 mw with an investment of about Rs 54,000 crore.