New Delhi: Production at the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant is expected to start within 15-20 days as the trials runs have been completed, Union Minister V Narayanasamy said on Friday.
"We will start production at the plant within 15-20 days as we have completed the trial run. The power production will slowly start. The second unit will start by March or April as around 95 per cent of the work is over," the Minister of state for Personnel and Public Grievances said on sidelines of a Nuclear Energy Conclave.
Terming Kudankulam as a "challenge", Narayanasamy said NGOs and groups involved in the agitation against the plant were funded by foreign agencies and the home ministry has suspended the companies involved in it.
He said NGOs involved in the agitation were funded by foreign agencies. "I do not know if they spent the money or not but I openly said that I got the bank accounts and where the money came.
"Even now, certain groups, ...People who retired from the department of nuclear energy and some outside people with the aid and support of foreign agency have been trying to scuttle our nuclear energy programme," the minister said.
"The home ministry has suspended the banking operations of about six companies and an enquiry has been started against them. But those people were getting foreign money for the purpose of charitable work and were actively involved in anti-nuclear power activities," he said.
He said misleading people is very easy and public outreach is very important as far as nuclear energy programme is concerned.
"After the Fukushima episode, our nuclear programme, which has been going very smooth in the past, hit a road block. We were forced to take certain measures, either preventive or for creating public awareness as there were some organisations involved in scuttling our nuclear energy programme," said the minister.
Noting that India is a peaceful country and wants to use this energy for peaceful purposes, he said this has been made clear by the Prime Minister.
India is progressing through various research work and also from support of other countries for increasing nuclear energy capacity, he said.
"As far as safety is concerned, we need much more research. For the purpose of expanding this programme, three things are important - public outreach, more safety exercises so that we can tell the world that our nuclear energy programme is safe and secure and the third is that the government alone cannot invest so much money for the purpose of expanding the programme," he said.
Stressing the need for private entrepreneurs, Narayanasamy said the government is involving the private sector for building peripheral activities.
"Let us go one step forward. The public sector undertakings have Rs 2 lakh crore and we want them to invest in energy production.
Assured coal supply is not possible due to court cases, agitations and others. We want to add around 23,000 MW by the 12th plan," said the minister.