Members to stay there “as long as necessary”

The State government-constituted experts' committee on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project issue will begin its visit to Tirunelveli on Saturday and hold talks with the representatives of protesters.

Disclosing this after meeting Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at the Secretariat here, M.R. Srinivasan, member of the committee and former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman, and S. Iniyan, convener of the committee and Director, Institute of Energy Studies, Anna University-Chennai, told reporters that the panel's work would include the visit to the power plant site, discussions with District Collector and his colleagues and ascertaining opinion of the local people.

Asked how soon the panel would complete its job, the two members replied emphatically, “As early as possible.”

Making it clear that its work would be based on reports of the Experts' Group of the Union government, Dr. Srinivasan said the Group had given exhaustive answers to the questions raised by agitators. “We are going to review the report of the Experts' Group in the context of questions raised by people's representatives.”

When told that certain sections of the local people were feeling neglected, Dr. Iniyan said his panel would interact with such sections. The former AEC chairman said the committee would stay there “as long as necessary”.

On the questions concerning nuclear waste, he said “no nuclear waste will be placed in Kudankulam per se. Nuclear waste comes from the reprocessing plant and we are not proposing a reprocessing plant in Kudankulam.”

When it was pointed out that the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) had objected to his inclusion in the committee, Dr. Srinivasan answered that the State government had asked him to help it out in the matter. He had acceded to the request. He added that the State thought that he had the necessary expertise to given an objective assessment.

He described himself as a person who had been in the field of energy for 55 years and as one who held different positions including the Member of the Union Planning Commission.

He was aware of what was happening in the country and around the world. He had looked at other options of electricity generation.

He was as much concerned about environment and ecological security as anybody else.

To a question whether the committee would be expanded, Dr. Srinivasan ruled it out and said there was no question of any new committee being formed.

As for the Experts Group, he said it was representative and constituted with “due care” by the Union Government.

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