The contingent of over 100 Russian and Ukrainian engineers attached to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project fears that the Russian agency that assigned them to the station would cancel contracts as the engineers have not been allowed to report for work for the last three weeks.

The 45 Russian and 60 Ukranian engineers, contracted to work at Kudankulam by the Russian agency Atomstroyexport, have not been allowed into the plant by local police since October 14 after protests against the project gained strength. The engineers fear that the Russian agency would reconsider the merit of continuing to meet their salary even as they remain idle in their settlement about 15 km off the project site. There is a distinct possibility that the agency would cut by half the number of engineers deployed at Kudankulam as uncertainty continues to shroud the future of the project, sources said. It is pointed out that the Russian agency might soon run out of patience for maintaining a huge contingent at Kudankulam, where work is at a virtual standstill for weeks together, and instead, actively consider redeploying several of the highly skilled engineers elsewhere. A slimming of the workforce could significantly add to the delay in commissioning the power plant if at all the current imbroglio is resolved and work resumes in a month or so, the sources said. Engineers are also worried about the fallout of not having any kind of quality maintenance of sensitive electronic equipment at the site.