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.