As the standoff over Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) persists, a top KNPP official on Sunday said the prolonged stir would affect the scheduled commissioning of the plant in December.

Sticking to their guns that the project be scrapped, the anti-KNPP activists have stepped up their agitation blocking the road leading to the site of the Indo-Russian project affecting the work.

“It (the stir) has definitely affected the work. The protesters have blocked the road leading to the plant. Police have advised us not to take our vehicles on that road, since they are blocked,” KNPP Director Kasinath Balaji told PTI over phone.

He said employees and contract workers were “restricted” from entering the plant in the past few days.

Though there were no nuclear processes in progress as of now, the protest has derailed plans for commissioning the first of the 2x1000 MW reactors in December.

“If not for these protests, Unit I would have been commissioned by December,” Mr. Balaji said.

To address the concerns raised by the local population, the KNPP officials have set up a committee to explain about the safety measures put in place.

“We have constituted a seven-member committee which will bring out booklets and pamphlets in Tamil to explain to the locals about the safety measures in the plant,” he said.

KNPP Director Mr. Balaji said, “The committee members will go to all the schools and colleges in the area and explain about the safety measures in the plant.”

The protests have intensified since August after the authorities announced the plant would be commissioned in December following the completion of hot run (testing with dummy nuclear fuel).

Efforts by the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments have failed to convince the protesters so far. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had met a multi-party delegation including representatives of the protesters, had announced setting up of a panel to address the safety concerns.

Making out a strong case for nuclear power to meet the growing energy requirement, Dr Singh has also written twice to State Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the importance of commissioning the plants as planned.

All safety measures at the unit I had been tested and once the test procedures were over, a report would be submitted to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mr. Balaji said.

Mr. Balaji also said pre-commissioning works were underway at the unit II.