An experts' committee formed by the Centre on Tuesday agreed to provide appropriate and satisfactory answers to all questions raised by the local community and protesters campaigning against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), possibly within 10 days.
The experts' panel conveyed this to a committee constituted by the Tamil Nadu government at the first meeting between the two teams held at the Collectorate here.
Before entering the Collector's Chamber, which was temporarily converted into a conference hall for the meeting, M. Pushparayan, a member of the State government's committee, told reporters that they would submit a memorandum containing 50 questions regarding the KKNPP and ask the experts for early answers.
“Before answering our queries, the expert panel members should meet the protesting public to clear their doubts and dispel their fears, which is the objective of the formation of the committee. Though we have raised questions in our memorandum, our ultimate goal is the closure of the KKNPP,” Mr. Pushparayan said, adding that the issue could not be sorted out at Tuesday's meeting alone.
Led by A.E. Muthunayagam, Vice-Chancellor, Noorul Islam Deemed University, Kumarakovil, near Nagercoil, the Central Committee met the State Committee members, led by District Collector R. Selvaraj, and discussed the issue from 11.50 a.m. till 2.15 p.m.
Later, Mr. Pushparayan said the panel members were urged to meet the protesting public and release a ‘White Paper' on all facts pertaining to the KKNPP including “waste management”.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Dr. Muthunayagam said the independent expert group, formed by the Central Government, to allay the fears of the protesting public against the KKNPP, would visit the plant site to see the safety measures incorporated in the two 1,000 MWe nuclear reactors and get relevant documents from KKNPP officials so that it could prepare the answers for the queries.
“I'm happy that both the agitators and experts in the Central panel have the common goal of ensuring the people's welfare and the nation's development while finding an effective and amicable solution to this issue. We will make the public understand the facts and dispel their fears through the answers,” Dr. Muthunayagam said.
On fishermen's apprehension that the “hot water” to be discharged back into the sea after being used as reactors' coolant would affect fish breeding, Dr. Muthunayagam, an oceanography expert, said those who level these charges should furnish satisfactory proof based on scientific principles to prove their accusations. While making it clear that the expert panel was prepared to meet anybody approaching it in an appropriate fashion, he hinted that the next meeting to provide the answers to the questions might be conducted in next ten days with the District Collector in chair.
“Through focussed and meaningful dialogue, we'll leave behind the current impasse,” he hoped.