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Updated: February 22, 2012 15:08 IST

Scientists cannot remain idle at Kudankulam: Russian Ambassador

B. Kolappan
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Alexander M Kadakin
Alexander M Kadakin

Reiterating that the nuclear power plants in Kudankulam were “the safest in the world”, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M. Kadakin on Tuesday said his country could not allow its scientists to remain idle indefinitely.

“We are not setting any deadline. But our scientists are sitting idle since October 2011. They are scientists of highest calibre and their services are very much needed in countries, including Slovakia and Russia,” he told reporters here.

The diplomat wondered how, all of a sudden, people started protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) though the agreement for the project was first signed in 1988 between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and another agreement in 2008.

“People do have the right to express their concerns and fears, especially after Fukushima incident. But why did it take six months after the incident to wake up to the Kudankulam Project. There is no need for any phobia. Fukushima is an ancient station, made on American design. I want to tell the people that the nuclear plants in Kudankulam are the safest in the world.”

The expertise of Russia in setting up nuclear power plants was recognised by the country's competitors – the United States and France, he claimed.

Mr. Kadakin said Russia was the only country that never imposed any sanctions against India after the Pokhran II and continued to build nuclear power plants in Kudankulam.

Referring to Tamil Nadu's power shortage and the State government's request to the Centre in this regard, he said the solution could come only from Kudankulam. Mr. Kadakin asked the anti-Kudankulam protesters not to view it in terms of narrow political considerations, pointing out that in 20 years, India's fuel requirements would be growing in geometrical progression. He expressed the concern that the stalemate would cause a direct damage to India's energy requirements. “We hope common sense and pragmatism would prevail on those who are protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear plant,” the Ambassador said. He criticised the “vested interests and those who were patronising and paying the protesters,” but said it was an internal matter of the country and Russia would not put pressure on India in this regard. Though he was in close touch with the Indian government on the issue of KKNPP, he had not contacted the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

“It may look a bit odd. I don't like to bypass the Centre,” he said, expressing the hope that the experts committee constituted by the State government would help in resolution of the issue.

He said a nuclear submarine would be coming to India very soon. “Which country is ready to share with India a nuclear submarine,” he wondered.

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Kudankulam power plant i think that it is not good. we need power so we need kudankulam its not correct. save the power and we produce the power from wind mills. it is one of the way to produce power. if we build kudankulam many are affected by that radiation. kudankulam power plant is not good and not safe.I request you all. thank you..

from:  A.Rubana
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 12:01 IST

Yes the fault of staff at Chernobyl? Oh yes, the fault of design staff who conceived the plant. And of people who allowed such human faults to cause such an infinite disproportion of misery for thousands of generations. When you put the control rod in the power increased! Now listen to me: The energy audit of the nuclear power programme shows that only the nuclear industry consumes all the power that the program produces. That is from year to year as the programme progresses, no power available to society for its needs apart from for the nuke cycle. And you should read Alexey Yablokov's Report on the Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences written along with Nesterenkovs, and translated by an American and published in the Annals of New York Acad. of Sc in 2009. How Om!

from:  Ramaswami Kumar
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 19:36 IST

Good comments, happy to read it.
I would like to add that the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the submarine occurred through the fault of staff.

from:  Alexey
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 13:07 IST

People should wake up to reality. We are in need of power and it has
started hurting economy. Without good infrastructure how we are going
to attract foreign investment? Aren't essential services are affected
by power shortage? Don't they realize farmers too are getting affected
economically? Do we have perennial rivers? Do we have rough seas for
Tidal waves? Except for three months in Dharapuram do we have
sufficient winds for power generation? Ethanol, Solar, Bio-based fuel
we are investing and it would take time to reap benefit. And we would
loosing lot before we become competitive.
Fukushima occurred because the response was not fast enough. Are
Japanese going to abandon nuclear power plant, now?. No. In fact they
would investing more in future. Japanese are the people who got
bombed, they are best engineers now, did they came up with alternate
energy source? When politicians game hurt our economy and general life
of people something had to be done.

from:  lasaf
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 02:11 IST

Since time and again newspapers are repeating pronuclear statements from all and sundry a commensurate number of repetitive (!) articles against nuclear energy are missing. Why this bias? Therefore I repeat now sane arguments against nuclear energy. Since there is no solution to the waste problem, the pronuclear esstablishment is stuck with the problem but doing nothing about it. 20 nukes! Instead of shutting them down they are going ahead with more. This is criminal and must stop now. Why is it criminal? One of the reasons is that there is no energy available to society other than that consumed by the nuke cycle. Thus the real cost to society from nukes is infinity. And we are left with radioactive wastes which last for millions of years in lethality. And the cumulative effects of modern civilization are leading to extinction(MK Gandhi said in effect in 1908).Crime!

from:  Ramaswami Kumar
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 11:45 IST

Apart from natural calamities, what kind of protection shield will there be for the nuclear power plant to survive bombing attacks during an international conflict. Large parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala will most likely become uninhabitable or the inhabitants and their future generations would be condemned to suffer from genetic disesases due to radioactive contamination. Pilgrimages to many holy sites will also be affected.

from:  Nava M
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 07:51 IST

I take exception on labeling nuclear energy as dangerous by some of the posters. Nuclear energy is used successfully in several developed countries such as France, the US (just approved new nuclear power plants after a 30 year gap even when there are plenty of coal & gas available), Japan etc without any credible proof of higher cancer rate linked to nuclear energy. In fact grave disease causing fallout from the coal fired power plants are well documented. Coal fired plants are directly linked to global warming causes that imperils survival of whole world. It is not sustainable for India to continue on the path of unbridled building of coal-fired plants. Other renewable sources such as wind and solar power at best can play a secondary role for the massive energy needs of India. India has to have nuclear power as part of the energy mix. India doesn't have the luxury of indulging in foreign NGO spearheaded dubious and unsubstantiated anti-nuclear energy paranoia.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 04:50 IST

I have questions for those who cite Chernobyl or Fukushima as reasons why one should not have a nuclear power plant. Industrial/mining disasters happened in India, does that mean that all factories have been closed down? Bhopal chemical factory disaster happened in which far more people dies than did with Fukushima or Chernobyl, did that India stopped all chemical factories? Rail disasters happene almost on a monthly basis in India, does it mean people stopped traveling in rail and take only bus, plane, car or walk? The US in spite of having abundant coal and gas has just approved new nuclear power plant after a gap of 30 years, does it mean that people of the US are stupid to allow new plant! There is risk in everything we do, accidents do happen - important thing is whether we learn from those and take measures to further safeguard for next time. People should be asking what safeguards have been put in to prevent the causes for Fukushima or Chernobyl, not stop all nuclear plants.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 01:37 IST

we have to stop kudankulam because the explosions at Three Mile Island,Chernobyl and Fukushima proved that safety of Nuclear reacxtors is a Myth.Moreover the German Chancellor has grasped this truth and she wants to save tghe people of Germany as india,we are seeing Mamta Banerjee as another great patriot who does not want to sacrifice the lives of millions of Bengaleese by permitting a Nuclear plant in west Bengal.Are there such patriots in Tamilnadu and Kerala to be bothered ab out the life and culture of South indians.Even in USA several Nuclear plants have been given up when their safety was doubted.Shoreham Reactors were cancelled aftwer the work was completed because people's lives are of paramount importance in a civilised country like USA.But Indian lives can be sacrificed for the sake of profits of the western contractors,indian politicians and officials who are not accountable to the public until next elections.So,people have to fight to save their own lives

from:  T.V.Rama Rao
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 23:48 IST

There are 20 civil nuclear reactors are presently functioning in our country. However, these reactors have not fulfiled at least 3% of nation's requirement?. Anyhow, India is spending crores of rupees for these projects. Why the country is not taking care of the other sources of energy, viz. solar etc, whereas the country like Gernmany where the sun light is less, is producing 70% of electricity thro' solar system. The Russian company which has played a major role in establishing KKNPP is facing legal trial in the court of russia on such issues. The agitations against the Kudankulam reactors have been taking place since 1989 onwards, but the Russian ambassador is not aware of it. As Mr. Jay Ravi pointed above, the nuclear submarine Indian proposed to purchase from Russia has faced certain accidents.

from:  P. Sukumar
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 20:44 IST

Yes, we can have the army build and operate the plant. Then, some day in the future, we'll have the cheapest nuclear deterrence in the world - radiating soldiers fed on radiating rice grown by radiating farmers. Wonder if radiation will negate the need of CFLs at night, and whether radiation can power a sail up the Bay to Bengal. By 2050, this will NOT be a 3D game.

from:  Arvind R.
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 16:09 IST

Everything started after the visit of Ms.Hillary clinton to the state
as soon as new government came into power. This is definitely a game
at the cost of the country especially Tamil Nadu. Protestors of the
Kudankulam project are more keen to know the technology. only
solution is Central government should take bold step not fearing US
interest and encourage the State Government to act immediately in
opening the N-Plant. State government is going to face lot of
agitation and public unrest in the days to come and who knows might
create a law and order problem. Huge threat is envisaged to the
economy of Tamil nadu and in turn rise of unemployment. Already many
industries have moved out of the state. No expansion is envisaged in
the existing Industries.

from:  chithambaranathan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 15:34 IST

It's true that we cannot stall all nuclear power projects going on in our country but we cannot totally discard all concerns about such projects, especially after Fukushima. There is no doubt that Russia has always been a trusted ally for us but it will be preposterous not to think about the real intentions of Russia behind this friendship and we need to reconsider how we want to move ahead in our nuclear and defence programs since the equations have totally changed post cold war.

from:  himanshu shekhar
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 15:04 IST

still Mr thomas is dreaming on solar and wind. sir new generation nuclear stations are the safe and consistent source of BIG electricity with extreme engineering and high safety standard.

from:  vignesh
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 14:25 IST

We have two choices: a)Trust the government and experts and let the power plant go ahead b)Agree to close it down. But once we chose the later , let us be prepared for the repurcussions. The reality of the day is we need power. As a country which will import fossil fuel,we will always be outpriced. Nuclear power is clean and econmical in the long run. Since when did general public become experts in nuclear technology? Mr Kalam himself gave an assurance. Just because we can challenge lets not challenge everything.If we need sustainable development we need these alternate source of power. For the record , all nuclear power points are near the coastline.

from:  Amrut
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 14:24 IST

The Bio Gas potential in India is about 17000MW. Unfortunately nobody talks of this as it is the DUNG POWER. This does not produce radiations,Ozone Holes etc.

from:  subramanian
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 13:33 IST

The Centre/State governments had no wrong intentions. Even the locals had no wrong intentions per se. The real issue cropped up when the government went for a drill. In case of an untoward eventuality how people should be equipped to cop up with such a satiation-that was the idea of such a drill. But the common man’s doubt went one step ahead that if the plant was constructed with at most care and could be classified as the world class, what was the need for making such a preparatory drill giving the impression that it is susceptible to an eventuality. So this has cast an impression that the plant is prone to calamity. The locals were relating the drill added with their imagination- what could be the real scenario if some thing happens. Erasing this indelible fear from the bottom of the poor people is not an easy task, perhaps more laborious than the efforts taken to build the plant. Because no body would like to have the sword of Damocles hang on their roof to ensure sleepless nights .

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 13:17 IST

Guess people of TN were sleeping when the project was announced several years ago. Moreover their political representatives were busy cornering land in and around the project rather than trying to understand the implications of the project coming up along their coast. Finally when Fukushima happened some people woke up and started protesting. Political power, meanwhile moved from one party to another whom these people have voted in so they better listen to their concerns. Unfortunately Russians are caught in the crossfire. All they can do is dig in and wait.

from:  Rajnish
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 13:16 IST

It makes no sense to call for abandoning one nuclear project, sitting in our house, powered by energy produced by one of the five or six existing nuclear plant!! The question is whether to go for safety of all the nuclear plants in the country or abandon all of them. I dont think we can afford to close down existing plants towards darkness. Let us look in a larger perspective instead of making loose talks. If we cannot contribute anything positively to the nation, let us not contribute negatively. That will be our great contribution to our nation.

from:  Kumar Iyer
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 12:49 IST

It makes no sense to call for abandoning one nuclear project, sitting in our house, powered by energy produced by one of the five or six existing nuclear plant!! The question is whether to go for safety of all the nuclear plants in the country or abandon all of them. I dont think we can afford to close down existing plants towards darkness. Let us look in a larger perspective instead of making loose talks. If we cannot contribute anything positively to the nation, let us not contribute negatively. That will be our great contribution to our nation.

from:  Kumar Iyer
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 12:48 IST

Could you please bring more news on "He said a nuclear submarine would be coming to India very soon. “Which country is ready to share with India a nuclear submarine,”

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 12:45 IST

Nuclear energy is the only viable option for a country like ours. Given the state's bleak power situation, this project is of high importance. Moreover, the safety of the plant has been ratified by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam himself. He has supported his opinion with proper scientific facts. If that is not enough to allay the fears of the local population, I wouldn't know what would. Whether the protest has backing from national or international supporters is left for the government to find out. But time is of essence, especially since the reactor has been built already. I hope the honourable Chief minister of TN would intervene personally and address the concerns of the protestors. I hope the larger interests of the power hungry state are given importance while being cognizant of the safety issues.

from:  Karthik Gopal
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 12:17 IST

Russia is still to overcome its Chernobyl nuclear disaster radioactive effect till date and what credibility and confidence it has now to say all this ...........

from:  N.Mahesh
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 11:59 IST

Ambassador Kadakin's words need to be taken seriously - if
Koodangkulam is shelved, it would mean that the power deficit is
addressed with coal fired powerplants. Whatever the anti nuclear
activists might claim, coal power is NOT safe. Several kinds of
cancer, mercury poisoning and large scale pollution of the air, soil
and water would be the inevitable result of using more coal. The state
would see immense outflows of hard currency from importing coal and
the very process of transporting coal by sea is dirty and polluting.
On the flip side, there is money to be made in buying, transporting,
stevedoring and so on as far as coal is concerned, and there has to be
a lobby that must be worried that the use of nuclear power would make
it lose money that it is comfortably earning at the moment, and that
it would earn all the more if coal imports increase. It would help is
the money funding these groups were followed as the Ambassador

from:  Mehul Kamdar
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 11:05 IST

It is unfortunate that Jaya cannot come to terms with the fact that this project was rejuvenated by the DMK in '07-'08. If you speak to villagers around Kudankulam, they will tell you in a heartbeat that this whole agitation is reeking of her influence. Ms.Jaya: Please swallow your pride and let 14k crores of taxpayer money give India something in return. The SC should send in the troops just like the US SC did to end segregation.

from:  vinod
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 10:38 IST

Why are all the political class talking about "sudden protests"? You know, it is easy to understand what happened: Fukushima happened. ...and Kudankulam is on the east coast which was battered by a tsunami a few years back. The scientists and politicians must understand the concern, and convince them.
All that said, I feel that the only way forward may be nuclear power augmented by grid connected distributed power generation from solar and wind -- in industries and households.

from:  Thomas George
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 09:10 IST

I agree with the sentiments expressed by Ambassador Kadakin. I hope decision makers in Tamil Nadu will listen to his words.

from:  Prof. Titus Mathews
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 08:51 IST

There is acute power shortage in Tamilnadu and the Tamilnadu Govt. is not taking any action to persuade the group of peopls who are agitating to close down the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. When there is no intervention from the State Govt. The Central Govt. can take counter action to discourage the group. Already the Russian Scientists are sitting idle from the start of the agitation and the Russian Govt. also insisting our Govt. to pave way for further work to continue the Project which can boost Southern States with power. Already mani Industries are not getting power in Coimbatore and the MSMEs are the worst hit. I think The Supreme Court alone can solve this problem, because both Central and State Governments are worried about their 'VOTE BANK" to interfere.

from:  Thjodla Venkatasubramanyam
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 08:49 IST

Now the constitution allows emergency to be declared in a particular
part of the country. There is nothing wrong in Central Govt.
declaring emergency in and around Koodangulam and military being
deployed to enforce law and order. Then the work can be started in
full swing to get the Nuclear Power plant started at the earliest.
It is unfortunate that all the political parties except Congress
plays politics in this respect for the fear earning the wrath of the
people in that area. Congress is doing that simply because it is in
the seat of power at centre. If BJP is at the centre, Congress will
also do the same by playing dirty politics.

Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 06:42 IST

Maybe we should jolt the memory of the ambassador. The accident at Chernobyl was not caused by an American plant. The nauseating crashes of the MiGs are now being followed by Sukhoi aircraft. And the leased nuclear submarine was in the news when about ten Russian sailors died due to a gas leak. Despite all this sordid background, the Kudankulam plant may be a sound one. If the plant is safe as per his claim, why don't the Russian suppliers and the Russian government take liability for any potential mishap -- stringent liability terms are being foisted on France and the U.S, while the Russians (with the active connivance of the GOI)are free from any liability clause. Why do we need to continue pay undeserved obeisance to the Russians?

from:  Jay Ravi
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 05:05 IST

Unfortunately for people of Tamil Nadu, there is a new crop of opportunistic politicians who encourage protests against KKNPP and similar worthwhile projects for short-term political gains. The only hope is that this too will pass.

from:  Johnson
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 03:57 IST

Tthe administration ignored these protesors for the last twenty years. They fooled the people for a while and they woke up in 2011. You can fool some people for sometime, all people for sometime but not all people for all the time, let alone the corruption and cheating of the local populace. They did not even make a theoretical escape plan for people living south of Koodangulam.

from:  robert
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 03:30 IST

The UPA Govt is doing nothing to get the operations started at the plant. This is really unfortunate.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 02:45 IST

Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant is situated by the river Volga, 900 kilometers south of Moscow. Balakovo was planned to be the biggest nuclear power plant in the world with a total of 24 reactors. But, today only four reactors are in operation.
The construction of the fifth reactor commenced in 1987, and the sixth in 1988. After a peoples poll, in 1993, it was on the other hand decided not to finish the construction work. 73% of the population voted against putting these reactors into operation. Former plans of building 24 reactors at Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant were abandoned after the Chernobyl-accident in 1986.

Why not what is good for people of Balkovo shouldn't be good for people of Kudankulam?

Before saying KNPP is safe, please convince that Chernobyl didn’t happen, Fukushima didn’t happen, and one can play with spent fuel.
The dangers of Chernobyl, Three-mile Island, and Fukushima are present in Kudankulam and people have every right to stop that danger.

from:  Michael Titus
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 02:35 IST

Mr. Kadakin's interview made a good reading.

As a token acceptance of Kudankulam nuclear power plant as economically
important to the state and for the general welfare of the people, the
major parties in Tamil Nadu should join hands together and declare for
just one day the 'K word' in their parties' name is not 'kazhagam' or
'Katchi' but 'Kudankulam'.

from:  GK
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 02:28 IST
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