Although India has a long written record, the shaking intensity of few damaging earthquakes that occurred before AD 1800, can be quantified. Since reliable estimates of future shaking near planned nuclear power plants depend on the extrapolation of historical earthquake data spanning many centuries, estimates of seismic risk to the planned Jaitapur nuclear power plant assessed from a short dataset of only the past few centuries, may not, therefore, represent the true risk to the plant.