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Kalam's safety review has failed to satisfy nuke plant protestors, expert laments

Chennai, Tue, 08 Nov 2011 ANI

Chennai, Nov 8 (ANI): K M Balu, one of the experts appointed by the Central Government to review safety norms in the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli District, has expressed his disappointment over the protest against to former president and top nuclear scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's safety review of the plant.


Talking to reporters here, Balu said it was unfortunate to see an inspection report of a prominent scientist like Kalam failing to satisfy local protestors.


"It is very unfortunate that even when someone like Dr. Kalam (APJ Abdul Kalam), when he says he has personally gone, inspected, seen and he feels satisfied and if that is not satisfying the demands of the protestors, it's sad I should say," he added.


Balu said it would be the prime responsibility of the members to address all safety fears of the locals, and educate them on the measures taken to avoid any fatalities.


"It is necessary for us to find out, what exactly are the problems. Is it genuine fear of something, which could go wrong in the reactor installation? If so, it is up to these scientists, the group of experts to tell them why or how such instances cannot happen, will not happen, even in the most unlikely of such a thing happening, how it would effect the members of public, those who are living in that region. After all safety systems are built only for that purpose. So we have to take the people of the area along with us in our effort to get on with the job," Balu added.


Commenting on the safety checks that the group shall be performing, Balu said that the team would cover the engineering aspect, the safety aspect, the affluent aspect and the environmental aspect.


"As far as we are concerned we will look at the reactor engineering aspect, the safety aspect, the affluent aspect, the environmental aspect and make sure that what is being built, what has been done already will not pose any hazard to people of that area, either now or in the days to come," said Balu.


Since many months, Koodankulam has been the epicentre of a wave of protests, with environmental activists and agitators voicing their ire at government apathy towards the dangers posed by nuclear energy.


Kalam had promised he would travel across nuclear projects based in coastal areas and discuss the efficacy of existing safety norms with scientists, following which he would present a report.


As part of this endeavour, Kalam has visited Koodankulam twice in the past to examine the safety features installed in the nuclear power plant's Russian reactors.


The project, which is being set up as a joint collaboration between India and Russia, envisages to build two 1,000 MW type reactors by the end of December 2011.


However, in the wake of the Fukushima incident in Japan, several nuclear projects across India such as one at Jaitapur in Maharashtra have run into rough weather as protesting locals and activists argue that such plants could adversely affect the environment.


As of 2010, India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in six power plants, generating over 4,000 megawatts of electricity while five other plants are under construction. (ANI)


Read More: Tirunelveli | Nad | Russi

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