To site or not to site

Published: Thursday 31 March 1994

A NUCLEAR plant in Punjab could be on the cards if chief minister Beant Singh has his way. Singh has prevailed upon the managing director of pig the Nuclear Power Corp (NPC), S K Chatterjee, to conduct a feasibility study to locate a nuclear power plant in the state, in spite of its proximity to the border and a record of political instability.

A survey conducted a decade ago ruled out the setting up of a nuclear power plant in the state. There have been no serious offers to set up thermal power plants'because of Punjab's distance from coal mines. The state's power requirement, estimated at about 4,000 mw, is expected to rise to 4,500 mw by 1996-97, according to a 1993 Central Electricity Authority survey.

A degree of peace and stability over the past two years in Punjab has also spurred the demand for more power in the state. Singh is pinning his hopes on the corporation setting up at least a 500 mw power plant. However, defence analyst Brij Mohan Kaushik of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi opines, "It would be foolish if NPC sited its plant in the strategically sensitive state."

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