An in-principle approval to set up six light-water nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh has been given, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
"The approval has been given for a site at Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh for the six reactors in cooperation with the United States. Pre-project activities, including land acquisition, obtaining statutory clearances and detailed site investigations are continuing at the site," Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh said in a written reply.
"Discussions on techno-commercial aspects with M/s Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) to arrive at a project proposal have also started," the minister added.
"The procedures involved in pre-project activities take time. Similarly, negotiations with foreign technology partners involving legal, regulatory, technical and commercial aspects also take time," he said.
In addition to Kovvada, the government is exploring the possibility of identifying a suitable site in coastal Andhra Pradesh for locating nuclear power plants with Russian cooperation, Singh said in response to another question.
"The Andhra Pradesh government has given its consent to carry out technical studies required to identify potential coastal sites for these nuclear power plants," he added.
"Some sections of local people and certain groups have expressed their opposition to the location of nuclear power plants near Kavali in Andhra Pradesh due to safety apprehensions and loss of traditional means of livelihood," the minister said.
The government is carrying out an extensive public outreach programme to spread awareness about nuclear power.