NEW DELHI–India on Sunday gave environmental clearance for a nuclear power plant to be built in collaboration with French firm Areva, days ahead of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s scheduled visit to New Delhi.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh said the go-ahead for the Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra state, which will use nuclear reactors supplied by Areva, was granted with 35 conditions and safeguards. “From an environmental point of view, nuclear energy is a cleaner option than coal,” Ramesh said in a press release, adding that he has called for further studies into the power station’s potential environmental impact. A 34-year-old embargo on civilian nuclear exchanges with India, imposed in 1974 following a series of Indian nuclear tests, was lifted in 2008 after years of negotiations between India and the United States. France has since signed an agreement with India covering nuclear energy cooperation, while Russia has also signed a similar accord. The power station will be situated in the coastal region of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, and has faced protests from locals and anti-nuclear activists.