The decision of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order the halting of the Kudankulam project until concerns and fears about the plant's safety are addressed has come as a bolt from the blue (Sept. 20). Concerns on safety in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster are no doubt well-intentioned but what will be achieved by halting work at this stage is unknown. One also has to look at the cost to the exchequer. A conscientious decision on the future of nuclear power in the country needs to be taken by the Centre and the Opposition involving all stakeholders without further delay. A power-deficient India is at the crossroads.

A.V. Narayanan, Tiruchi.

Years ago, a report appeared in The Illustrated Weekly of India on the programme for setting up of nuclear plants in U.S. It said: “In view of the cheap cost of generation it was proposed to set up a good number of nuclear plants in the U.S. by the late Sixties. However, the number of plants so set up was not even to an extent of 20 per cent of the programmed number since other considerations of its monitoring heavily weighed against its implementation. Apart from regular safety and maintenance controls, one of the main aspects of a nuclear plant at the time of its decommissioning was that it cannot just be dismantled like any other plants. The units are to be buried deep in the earth/sea and monitored constantly for years to come for its radiation effects. The proposals were therefore not only unviable but also risky in the event of any safety lapses in its monitoring.”

In Fukushima, it was seen that safety controls proposed two years ago were not effected. Germany has decided to decommission all such plants in a phased manner. Therefore, the apprehensions of the people of Tamil Nadu are well founded.

R. Sridhar, Bangalore.

At a time when Tamil Nadu, and much of South India, are reeling under a severe power shortage, it is a pity that the fate of the already delayed Kudankulam plant appears to be hanging in the balance. However, it is heartening that Dr. Singh responded immediately to Ms Jayalalithaa's concerns. Crores spent on the project should not go in vain.

K.D. Viswanaathan, Coimbatore.

A “nuclear park” in a coastal region declared as a “marine park” is strange. The locals of Kudankulam, a majority of whom are fisherfolk and farmers, fear that the reactors pose risks to their lives and livelihoods. They want clear-cut answers — on radiation and its harmful effects, their likely displacement, the threats to marine life, nuclear waste disposal and foolproof safeguards in the possibility of a catastrophic accident.

Their lives are more far more important than money.

G. David Milton, Maruthancode.

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