Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu), Sep. 13 (ANI): Residents here were on a day-long hunger strike on Monday, demanding the shutdown of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
Around 10,000 people, who have joined the protest, were apprehensive about the project after the Fukushima nuclear power station disaster in Japan, following an earthquake in 2011 March.
Vaiko, chief of India's regional Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), threw his weight behind the agitation and addressed the protesters.
"Scientifically and technologically, a superior country like Japan failed to address the problem of nuclear accident. In this situation, the decision to go ahead with the construction of 16 nuclear reactors in the Koodankulam and Kalpakkam puts serious question marks on the fate of people of Tamil Nadu. Tamil people must not be affected by it and it is the only concern for this mass movement," added Vaiko.
The students have refused to attend classes if the matter was not resolved to their satisfaction.
"We will not attend out school till this nuclear plant is shutdown and we demand that the government take immediate action on this regard," added Udya Kumar, a protesting student.
The project, in collaboration with Russia, envisages to build two 1,000 MW VVER type reactors by end of 2011 December.
India's plans to rapidly build more nuclear power plants are unlikely to change despite the crisis in Japan, as Asia's third-largest economy seeks to end blackouts, officials and experts said on Tuesday.
India's nuclear power generation capacity is 4.7 GW, set to rise to 7.3 GW by the end of March 2012. By 2020, the country hopes to have over 20 GW of nuclear power generating capacity.
To make this possible, the country has signed a landmark nuclear power deal with the United States and opened up its estimated 150 billion dollars nuclear power market to private reactor builders such as GE and Areva
Around 500 million people in India live with no access to electricity. (ANI)