Russian Consul General assures safety of VVER-1000 reactors
Russia is optimistic that a solution would be found soon to the current impasse over the Kudankulam nuclear power plant and the efforts made to allay the fears of the people would bear fruit, said Nikolay A.Listopadov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Southern India, here on Saturday.
“Owing to unfortunate developments, work on the plant has come to a halt. India is a great democracy and everyone has a right to express their views. But some of the anti-nuclear protestors are professional activists who are not willing to listen to our arguments,” he said speaking at an interactive session with a group of city's trade and industry representatives.
Reiterating that the VVER-1000 reactors were highly safe, Mr.Listopadov affirmed that additional safety features have been incorporated at the Kundakulam plant following the Fukushima nuclear accident. The apprehensions of the people should be allayed through dissemination of information regarding the safety and security of the nuclear plant.
The plant was located on an elevated plane and the coastline there had not suffered any damage even during strong Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. It would not be detrimental to marine life. Similar nuclear reactors were functioning in Russia and more are being commissioned there and in China and Iran too.
When asked whether the anti-nuclear protests would be a setback for the Kudankulam project, Mr.Listopadov said both India and Russia were interested in continuing the nuclear cooperation programme. “We do not see any reason why it cannot continue,” he observed and pointed out that India and Russia would sign contracts for establishment of two more nuclear reactors at Kudankulam during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow shortly.
Of the 90 nuclear experts from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, who were involved in the construction of the nuclear plant at Kudankulam, some have returned home after the terms of their contracts ended. But others were staying back and awaiting the resumption of the work on the plant, he said.
To a query, Mr.Listopadov said efforts were on to increase bilateral trade between India and Russia and there was much scope for cooperation in areas such as bio-technology and information technology. Efforts were also being made to strengthen the educational and cultural ties between the two countries. He conceded that there was scope for more collaborative research and the two countries have already taken up joint research in the field of space science. He suggested that Indian tourist firms promote the heritage tourism destinations of South India, especially in Tamil Nadu, to attract Russian tourists.
A.Jaya, Mayor, K.Chandramohan, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry, Tiruchi zone, Rajappa Rajkumar, president, BHEL Small Industries Association (BHELSIA), V.Vasudevan, president, Tiruchi Travel Federation, K.Meena, vice chancellor, Bharathidasan University, R.Ramasubbu, associate editor, Dinamalar, and R.Rajagobal, president, International Cultural Federation, participated.