With the commissioning of the much-delayed Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project expected by this month-end, anti-nuclear activists are planning to lay siege to the facility on December 10 to press for scrapping the project.
“We will lay a siege to the Kudankulam nuclear plant on December 10, Human Rights Day. Our support organisations and some political parties are going to block the roads on that day. We will lay a siege from the seaside,” M. Pushparayan, a leader of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the over year-long stir against KNPP, told PTI over phone.
The activists had on October 8 laid a similar siege to the site, pressing their demands.
“Our demands remain the same. Scrap the plant, release those who were arrested and stop the police control on our activists,” he said, adding fishermen and supporters from 10 fishing hamlets would take part in the siege.
Preparatory work is in full swing at Kudankulam, as the commissioning of the plant is expected during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin this month-end.
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has already granted the plant its permission for the ‘second heat up’ — a process which will put to performance tests various systems of the nuclear reactor.
“We are busy with the preparatory works at the plant. But every step has to be reviewed by AERB. But it is possible to start the operation by the end of this month,” official sources had said.
According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, units 1 and 2 of the project were initially scheduled to start commercial operation in December 2007 and December 2008 respectively. But, as of October this year, units 1 and 2 have completed 99.63 per cent and 92.66 per cent of physical progress.
Commissioning of the first unit of the Indo-Russian project was originally scheduled for December last year but has been delayed due to protests.
The anti-nuclear activists on Saturday held a meeting at Idinthakarai, the epicentre of the protests for over a year, to plan the siege.
“Both the Centre and state governments are continuously violating the human rights of people from this area. The continuous promulgation of Sec 144 here is against the wishes of the fishermen and locals of this area,” S.P. Udayakumar, PMANE convenor, told reporters at Idinthakarai.
The siege was to highlight the “violations” of rights by the Central and State governments, he said.
Struggle committee members, village committee members and locals participated in the meeting.