For the first time after nearly five-and-a-half months, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) received its optimum strength of around 950 technical and non-technical personnel and 100 Russian technocrats on Tuesday morning when operations were revived following the State Cabinet resolution on early commissioning of the plant on Monday.
However, the final touches to the first of the two 1,000 MWe reactors of the KKNPP and completion of work in the second unit can be carried out only after contract labourers, mostly from north India, return. They had threatened to leave Kudankulam and the neighbouring villages for good after the anti-KKNPP struggle started.
“Though the unexpected stalling of construction activities was quite painful for me at a time when we were eagerly awaiting the commissioning of the plant, I am elated now, as I'm boarding our bus to reach the KKNPP site after a long gap of nearly six months,” said V. Shanmuganathan, an engineer attached to the electrical section. As the Cabinet resolution cleared the final hurdle in the resumption of work at KKNPP, around 300 workers were sent inside the plant amidst tight security for the night shift on Monday. Since anti-nuke activists, who were highly agitated over the change in the State government's stance, were in no mood to allow the technicians from going in, the KKNPP administration transported around 950 personnel on Tuesday by buses that left Anu Vijay Township at 5.30 a.m. Around 100 Russian technicians, who have been deployed at by Atomstroyexports, the supplier of the 1,000 MWe VVER reactors, also went in.
“I have worked in several nuclear power projects across the country and stayed near project sites along with my family members. However, none of us have suffered any health-related issues all these years. Now we're returning to work after all hurdles have been cleared finally,” said a visibly elated K. Baiju of the mechanical section.