M A I N   N E W S

PM: Won’t compromise on nuke safety standards
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, October 7
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made it clear that there would be no compromise on safety in the pursuit of the country’s nuclear energy programme, be it in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness.

Talking to an all-party delegation from Tamil Nadu which called on him at his residence to demand scrapping of the Kudankulam nuclear project till the concerns of the local population were addressed, the PM said nothing would be done that threatened the safety or livelihood of any section of society, particularly those living in the vicinity of a nuclear project.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is building two 1,000 MW capacity nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam. The first unit is expected to go on stream this December. However, Russia now says the ongoing agitation against the project might delay commissioning of the first reactor at the site.

Manmohan Singh said the Centre attached the highest importance to ensuring that the use of nuclear energy in the country met the highest safety standards. He said the government fully shared the concerns of the people of the area and would take all steps to allay their fears.

The meeting was attended by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Srikumar Banerjee, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy and NPCIL chairman SK Jain, among others.

Two memorandums were presented by the delegation to the PM. The delegation, led by Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Pannerselvam, included representatives of the AIADMK, the Congress, the CPI and local leaders from Kudankulam.

It was agreed that since the issues raised were technical in nature and required in-depth discussion, the Centre would constitute a small group of experts to interact with the representatives of the people of the region to satisfy all their legitimate concerns.

It was clarified on behalf of the Centre that the nuclear plant in question was still to be operationalised and no nuclear processes had begun.

According to M Pushparayan, convener of the Coastal Peoples’ Federation, the state government submitted one memorandum, demanding stopping of the project till the 
apprehensions of the people were cleared.

“We submitted another memorandum demanding scrapping of the project. We have announced resumption of our protest from October 9 but first we will explain to the people about our meeting with the PM,” he said.

Anti-nuke activists protest

Chennai: Over 300 anti-nuclear activists on Friday staged a protest against the Kudankulam atomic power plant. Protesters also demanded that the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam near here be gradually phased out. PTI

Manmohan SINGH writes to Jaya

The Central Government is fully alive to nuclear concerns and has sought to actively reach out to local populations at different nuclear power sites and to other sections of society to ally such fears. 





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