Anti-nuclear power activists protesting against the 2,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear power project on Thursday put up a road block, stopping scientists and engineers from reaching the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC). The protesters also stopped about 6,000 contract workers to enter the plant.
An NPC official at the Kudankulam plant told Business Standard: “Only 300 scientists and engineers, who were inside the plant, are on the job. However, about 700 scientists and engineers from the nearby employees' colony were unable to report to their duties, as protesters put roadblockade.”
The protest comes a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his second letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, warned that the state's development plans would be hit in absence of power from the Kudankulam plant.
Singh had said his government would not compromise on safety in the pursuit of the nuclear energy programme, be it in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness.
However, the Prime Minister’s appeal did not dissuade the protesters, who have been demanding scrapping of the Indo-Russian project. Citing the Fukushima crisis as an example, villagers from the area believe the plant is unsafe.
However, the central government and NPC have made it clear that the Kudankulam plant meets the strictest safety standards.The PM has said a panel of experts will visit the area to discuss safety concerns with the locals.
NPC has invested about Rs 14,000 crore in the project and it has cited technical difficulties to stop the work even after the Tamil Nadu Cabinet passed a resolution in this regard.