Tamil Nadu has been suffering from unprecendented power cuts, despite which there have been protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
The Russian-built Kudankulam plant is the country's largest nuclear power project and is designed to help meet a surging demand for electricity. Plans were first drawn up in 1988 and it was supposed to have gone into operation in 2011.
Two of the reactors are now in place but they have come on line amid large-scale protests by locals about the threat of radiation.
Several petitions had been filed before the top court by anti-nuclear activists challenging the project on safety grounds.
Here are the pros and cons of the power plant:
- It can supply electricity to at least 200 million homes
- Capable of generating 1000 MW of power when operational
- Has in-built safety measures that minimise the risk of any radiation leak
- The location of the plant is in an area that is least prone to earthquakes, and its height ensures potential safety from tsunamis
- Storage and disposal of nuclear waste major cause of concern
- Sub-standard equipment, faulty parts have been installed at the facility
- Fishermen allege that the 14,000 crore project is fundamentally unsafe and they fear it will destroy fish in the sea, affecting their livelihood
- Ecological damage by radioactivity is feared
- Quick evacuation for those living around the plant, in case of disaster will be very difficult
- Radioactivity from the plant, and unsafe disposal of nuclear waste, may cause cancer and other health problems