Kudankulam: Gag order on nuclear plant officials
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Kudankulam: Gag order on nuclear plant officials

It's a development that scientists and officials of the KNPP would have proudly showcased to the world - through the media, but with the ongoing protests against the plant, they have been directed not to speak to the media, Prasad Nichenametla reports.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2012 09:18 IST
Prasad Nichenametla
Prasad Nichenametla
Hindustan Times

Scientists and officials at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project would have proudly showcased their achievement to the world - through the media - at this time had the situation been normal.

But with protests against commissioning of the project, there is gloom around at KNPP and the project township nearby - 25km from Kanyakumari.

The atmosphere is charged with uncertainty and apprehension of protests flaring-up led to an official gag order issued by top officials of the atomic energy establishment on disclosing information of fuel loading or any other development within the plant.

"It would have been a pleasure to share details and showcase the feat but the unfortunate developments have barred us from talking about a moment of pride for the nation," a senior KNPP official said. Top officials could not be reached for their comments.

On normal course, NPCIL would have invited journalists to display such important events, a source in New Delhi said.

"Given the prevalent tensions, our understanding is that the fuel loading is put on hold for a while," a police official deployed at the plant said. He however adds that there is no official information.

Fuel loading, through approval of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, will be followed by the reactor going critical. The enriched Uranium (U 235) used at Kudankulam though could remain in the reactor without going critical.

"We are willing to negotiate with the government but if it loads the fuel then we have to chart our course in consultation with all villages here," Stephen Raj, member, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy said.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of P Udayakumar, agitation leader required before a court on Tuesday, are uncertain. Police sources say he is moving around from village to village around the plant. "Given the charged atmosphere, his arrest is not so advisable," one official said.

A heavy blanket of Police comprising 21 Companies (11 of them women) supervised by 10 DSPs, 20 inspectors, 35 sub inspectors, has covered Kudankulam.

Personnel are seen deployed on the roads leading to Kudankulam from Kerala and places elsewhere in Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, activists and local political groups attempted to join protest at Idinthakarai - the hotbed of protests at Kudankulam.

First Published: Sep 17, 2012 22:54 IST