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Govt rethink on N-power plant?

india Updated: Sep 21, 2011 01:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Union minister V Narayanasamy on Tuesday told protesters opposing the Kudankulam nuclear power project that people's safety came first, indicating the possibility of a rethink.

The protesters, however, refused to call off their indefinite fast, which entered the 10th day.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had deputed Narayanasamy, minister of state in the PMO, to address the safety fears of locals about the Indo-Russian project in Tirunelveli.

Singh had acted after chief minister J Jayalalithaa urged him to halt work on the project.

Before meeting people agitating against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, Narayanasamy, met Tamil Nadu government officials on Tuesday and apprised them of the safety measures in place.

An indefinite fast against the project by more than 125 people at Idthantikarai, two km from the plant site, has entered the tenth day. Thousands of people have joined the protest with a relay fast.

"It is our duty to allay the fear of locals and tell them that all safety measures have been taken," Narayanasamy told mediapersons in Chennai.

He said he would appeal to the protesters to withdraw their fast.

"After the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan, there is fear in the minds of people that this area (Kudankulam) is also under threat, but as per the survey and security measures taken by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, all the safety standards are being followed," he said.

After an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 knocked out the reactor cooling systems of the Fukushima plant, triggering meltdowns, the PM had ordered a review of safety measures and necessary modifications.

"Accordingly, review committees were constituted and about two months back, on the basis of the reports given by the committees, further strengthening of security measures has been done by most nuclear plants including Kudankulam," said Narayanasamy.

Barely three months are left for commissioning of the first of the two 1,000 MWe (megawatt electrical) reactors at Kudankulam.