Jaitapur nuclear project to start in a year: French official

Pushing ahead with the controversial Jaitapur nuclear power plant - slated to be the world's biggest - India and France held talks today on safety issues, which were positive, according to the French side.

Dr Bernard Bigot, chairperson of France's Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, met Department of Atomic Energy secretary Dr Srikumar Banerjee on Wednesday, and presented a safety assessment report prepared by the French nuclear safety regulatory authority ASN.

Talking to the media today, Bigot said construction of the reactors could start within a year.

''The two sides are trying to work out a commercial contract as soon as possible. There is a process of price negotiations but we are on the road to reach an agreement quite soon,'' he said.

There was no reciprocal word on the developments from the Department of Atomic Energy or other Indian government authorities.

The plant in Maharashtra's ecologically sensitive Konkan region has led to massive and continuing protests from locals who fear it will destroy fishing in a wide area off the area. The protests, supported by various environmental groups, have intensified after the Fukushima disaster.