Within hours of being urged by chief minister J Jayalalithaa to halt work on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant till the fears of people were allayed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday told her he would personally look into the matter.
V Narayanasamy, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), would visit the plant site in Tirunelvelli district, around 650km south of Chennai, to address safety fears of locals.
Earlier, Jayalalithaa wrote to the PM amid mounting protests against the Indo-Russian project. Barely three months are left for commissioning of the first of the two 1,000 MWe (megawatt electrical) reactors.
Accusing the Centre of abdicating its responsibility, the AIADMK chief said no union minister or official had come forward to allay the fears of thousands of people who were living in perpetual fear of a nuclear accident like the Fukushima (Japan) disaster.
Jayalalithaa criticised union minister of state for environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan, who reportedly said the subject came under the purview of the Atomic Energy Commission and her ministry had nothing to do with it.
Her letter to the PM came three days after she sought to allay safety fears over the plant.
After meeting officials of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, which is building the plant with Russian help, she had said the plant was 7.5 metres above sea level in a zone not prone to earthquakes and safe even from tsunami.