Bihar renews plea for N-power plant

PATNA: In view of the serious crisis of coal, Bihar government has renewed its plea for setting up a nuclear power plant at Rajauli in Nawada district of the state. The issue was raised at a meeting of states’ energy ministers in New Delhi last month by Bihar’s energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, saying that land for the nuclear power plant had already been selected at Rajauli way back in 2007.

A few years back, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) had proposed setting up a 4x700MW nuclear power plant at Rajauli. But inadequate water availability is proving a stumbling block in the way of setting up Bihar’s first nuclear power plant.

According to a senior Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) official, 320 cusecs of water is required for the project, of which 160 cusecs would be consumptive. Bihar’s water resources development (WRD) department has indicated that adequate quantity of water would not be available from the proposed Dhanarjay reservoir and existing Phulwaria reservoir for a 4x700MW plant. It has indicated availability of 127 cusecs water to meet the requirement of 2x700MW or 4X450 MW N-power plant.

“We have requested the NPCIL to have a relook at the project in the light of expected availability of water,” said a BSEB official. A few years back, the BSEB had requested the NPCIL to set up a power plant with a reduced capacity of 4×450 MW or 2×700 MW power plant.,

A four-member expert team of the NPCIL had inspected the Rajauli site in 2007. It had even then raised doubts over the availability of adequate water required for the plant. Former Bihar energy minister Ramashray Prasad Singh had sent a couple of reminders to his counterpart at the Centre to consider Rajauli for a nuclear power plant of a reduced capacity.

Recently, NPCIL has identified four new sites in the country for setting up indigenously-designed Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). These plants are expected to come up in states like Haryana, Rajasthan and MP. “We have identified four sites to set up 2x700MW plant each in the first phase, which may have potential for expansion up to 2,800MW each. Land acquisition work and pre-project activities for these plants are on,” an NPCIL official said.

“With the recent appointment of Bihar’s native, Ratan Kumar Sinha, as the director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, we are hopeful of getting a nuclear power plant,” said a state government official. Sinha is a mechanical engineer graduate from Patna University.


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