Kudankulam nuclear plant safe: Kalam

Kudankulam has been the epicentre of protests, with environmental activists voicing concern against dangers posed by nuclear plant.

Last Updated: Nov 07, 2011, 00:08 AM IST

Chennai: Former president APJ Abdul Kalam on Sunday visited the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu and said the plant was totally safe and a "boon to the people".

"The third generation nuclear reactor is totally safe and is a boon to the people," Kalam told reporters at the site.

"The nuclear plant is built at a correct height and there is no threat of tsunami (damage)," he added.

He said electricity is necessary for India`s economic growth.

Kalam also said his visit to the plant was "purely as a technologist and scientist and not to mediate with the protesters and to verify the safety features incorporated in the nuclear power plant located on the Indian coast".

He viewed the safety features of the two Russian reactors being set up in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here.

Kalam also met a group that wants the plant to start generating power.

"He is fully satisfied with the active and passive safety features of the nuclear reactors in Kudankulam. The passive safety system is working very well. The reactor heat removal system is the most modern in the world," Kalam`s adviser V Ponraj said on phone.

He said Kalam was satisfied with the core catcher safety feature, whereby in the event of an accident, the reactor core will be contained.

"The fears of people are unfounded as everything at the plant is perfect," Ponraj said.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) chairman and managing director SK Jain accompanied the former president during his visit.

India`s nuclear power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam.

The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 13,160 crore (over USD 2.5 billion).

However, villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population.

Their agitation has put a stop to the project work thereby delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.

IANS