The stalemate over the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu continued after protesters on Friday rejected the safety certificate issued by the central panel of experts after a three-day plant inspection.
There were widespread protests against the two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is building with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam, around 650 km from Chennai. Villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the neighbouring population. Their agitation has put a stop to the project work, thereby delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.
In order to allay fears, the central and the state governments had formed two separate committees. The state panel includes representatives of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) that is spearheading the anti-KNPP movement, including its convener V Pushparayan.
The state panel was not satisfied with the 38-page report compiled by the central panel. Dr AE Muthunayagam, convenor of the central government panel said, “Fears are unfounded and have no scientific basis. Kudankulam plant has the best and the most advanced safety mechanisms anywhere in the world.”
Pushparayan claimed, “Members of the central panel did not consider the 50 questions raised by us.”
He claimed the central panel had glossed over many questions dubbing them as “military matters”.
The PMANE had demanded documents such as environmental impact assessment, site evaluation study, safety and analysis report, and the agreement with Russia signed in 2008 over the liability issue, among other things. The protesters had also demanded a white paper on the situation inside KNPP.