US NGOs fuelling Kudankulam protests: PM

PM Dr Manmohan Singh has blamed several US-based NGOs for fuelling protests against the Russian-aided Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: At a time when the Centre is trying to address concerns over the Kudunkulam nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has blamed several US-based NGOs for fuelling protests against the Russian-aided project in Tamil Nadu.

Reports, Friday, said the Prime Minister made these allegations during an interview to an American journal `Science`.
"The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs mostly, I think, based in the US, don`t appreciate the need for our country to increase energy. The local NGO-led protests have stalled the commissioning of two 1000 mw nuclear reactors," Singh was quoted as telling the journal.

The Prime Minister’s tough remarks have come days after media reports claimed that foreign agents were whipping up a campaign against the Rs 13000-crore Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) located in Tirunelveli district of the state.

The Russian-aided plant is expected to address the acute power shortage problem in the southern state. However, the project has landed into trouble waters due to massive protests by activists and the local villagers over safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan early last year.
Due to massive protests, the local villagers are concernedabout their lives and safety in a big nuclear accident takes place and the long-term impact it would have on the population in the area.

Despite a series of negotiations between the Central government-appointed expert panel and the protestors, the controversy over the Kudunkulam nuclear project has refused to die down.

To allay concerns over the Indo-Russian joint project, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given repeated assurance to the Tamil Nadu government led by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa that there would be no compromise on safety at the plant.

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