Anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant protesters, led by activist SP Udayakumar, have laid siege to the port at Tuticorin demanding the closure of the plant.The renewed agitation is because fuel loading in the first reactor of the Kudankulam plant has already begun.The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had given its final clearance for loading fuel on Tuesday night.
“Nearly five hundred fishing boats have reached the Tuticorin harbour, which is situated around 60 miles away from the nuclear power plant,” an NDTV report said.
SP Udayakumar had announced the agitation plan two days ago after holding a discussion with community leaders of coastal hamlets in Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram.
Meanwhile, Shipping minister GK Vasan had on Friday urged the anti-nuclear plant activists at Kudankulam to desist from stalling activity at the VOC Port (formerly Tuticorin port).
The Kudankulam nuclear power plant has not yet been made operational. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has begun loading enriched uranium fuel rods in the first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu following a nod from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
In a statement released by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy on Friday, the activists demanded that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited stop the fuelling process immediately. Vasan also urged the Tamil Nadu government to take necessary steps to contain the protest so as to avoid any impact on the region’s import export trade.
NCPIL, the country’s atomic power plant operator, is setting up the KNPP at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai with two Russian-made VVER 1,000 MW reactors.
After the reactor is fuelled, activities to approach first criticality-starting fission chain reaction, for the first time in a reactor, will be taken up. Then the power generation will be gradually scaled up on AERB’s permission, based on the results of various studies.
Observers from IAEA are expected at KNPP as the reactors fall under the safeguard agreement.
The KNPP is an outcome of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, the project construction only began in 2001.