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Tamil Nadu panel on Kudankalam submits report


Chennai : The Tamil Nadu government-formed four-member expert committee on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), which had earlier ruled the two Russian reactors safe, submitted its report to the state government Tuesday.

Queried about the committee’s report and recommendations, Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) former chairman and panel member M.R. Srinivasan told IANS: “The committee has been formed by the state government. The committee submitted the report to the government. It is now the property of the government and I am not at liberty to tell the contents of the report.”

He said it is for the state government to take a decision on the report.

Asked whether the committee still sticks to the views it earlier expressed about the safety measures of the two Russian reactors at Kudankulam, he said: “We are not retracting what we had said about the plant safety earlier.”

The committee members, after visiting the KNPP, had earlier certified that the reactors are safe and modern.

The panel appointed by the state government also includes two professors from tthe Anna University, D. Arivu Oli and S. Iniyan, and retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer L.N. Vijayaraghavan.

Srinivasan declined to comment whether the committee had suggested any more safety measures for nuclear power plant and said: “The answer to that question would go into the realm of the report. I am not at liberty to answer that question.”

Speaking to IANS, committee convener Iniyan said: “We have suggested some measures to be taken by the government for allaying the fears of the villagers in and around Kudankulam.”

To a query whether the committee has taken inputs from the report submitted by former Indian president A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, he said: “We have suggested our own measures. We have not taken any inputs from other reports.”

Kalam, in his report, had recommended building of schools, hospitals, concessional loans for youth and other measures for Kudankulam and surrounding villages.

India’s nuclear power plant operator, Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL), is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, around 650 km from Chennai.

Villagers in Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby areas fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident.

Their agitation, led by the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit slated last December.

Meanwhile, representatives of PMANE said they will be meeting Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Wednesday.

“We will tell her about our meeting with the state government panel and also the people’s mood,” Coastal People’s Federation convener and PMANE leader M. Pushparayan told IANS.

He does not expect the state government to say that it is satisfied with the safety of the nuclear reactor and it is for the central government to allay the people’s fears.

“The state government has taken the responsibility on it by setting up the expert committee on its own. Now the government has to decide on the plant,” Pushparayan said.