Stir to impact commissioning of KNPP: Official

A top KNPP official said the prolonged stir would affect the scheduled commissioning of the plant in December.

Chennai: As the standoff over Koodankulam
Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) persists, a top KNPP official
on Sunday said the prolonged stir would affect the scheduled
commissioning of the plant in December.

Sticking to their guns that the project be scrapped, the
anti-KNPP activists have stepped up their agitation blocking
the road leading to the site of the Indo-Russian project
affecting the work.

"It (the stir) has definitely affected the work. The
protesters have blocked the road leading to the plant. Police
have advised us not to take our vehicles on that road, since
they are blocked," KNPP Director Kasinath Balaji said over phone.

He said employees and contract workers were "restricted"
from entering the plant in the past few days.

Though there were no nuclear processes in progress as of
now, the protest has derailed plans for commissioning the
first of the 2x1000 MWe reactors in December.

"If not for these protests, Unit I would have been
commissioned by December," Balaji said.

To address the concerns raised by the local population,
the KNPP officials have set up a committee to explain about
the safety measures put in place.

"We have constituted a seven-member committee which will
bring out booklets and pamphlets in Tamil to explain to the
locals about the safety measures in the plant," he said.

KNPP Director Balaji said, "The committee members will go
to all the schools and colleges in the area and explain about
the safety measures in the plant."

The protests have intensified since August after the
authorities announced the plant would be commissioned in
December following the completion of hot run (testing with
dummy nuclear fuel).

Efforts by the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments have
failed to convince the protesters so far. Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, who had met a multi-party delegation including
representatives of the protesters, had announced setting up of
a panel to address the safety concerns.

Making out a strong case for nuclear power to meet the
growing energy requirement, Singh has also written twice to
state Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the importance of
commissioning the plants as planned.

All safety measures at the unit I had been tested and once
the test procedures were over, a report would be submitted to
the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Balaji said.
Balaji also said pre-commissioning works were underway at
the unit II.


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