Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu): Amid tight security, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant returned to full strength on Tuesday after the Tamil Nadu government gave the go-ahead to the stalled Indo-Russian project with officials hoping the first unit would be commissioned “as soon as possible”.
“We are happy that the government is with us. All our 1,000 employees, including Russian specialists, have moved to the site. We started our work yesterday itself,” KNPP Site Director M. Kasinath Balaji told PTI, a day after the Jayalalithaa government gave the green light to the protest-hit plant.
“We will put all our efforts to make up for lost time and try to commission the first unit as soon as possible,” he said.
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr. Sukumar Banerjee said there was no damage to the plant after work came to a standstill following eight month-long protests by locals spearheaded by the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) over safety concerns.
“We are very happy work has started again and there is full force today. The plant is definitely very safe. There is no damage to the plant,” he said.
A Russian engineer Marinev Alexander said, “Today is a special day for us.”
PMANE convenor S.P. Udayakumar and associate M. Pushparayan along with some others have been on an indefinite fast in Idinthakarai, the epicentre of the protests, opposing the arrest of 10 of their activists on Monday. Police launched a crackdown on the protesters arresting 180 of them since Monday.
Describing as unfortunate the clearance given to the plant, Mr. Udaykumar said people in the 30 km radius of the nuclear plant have not been given any disaster or evacuation training.