Chennai, Oct 29: Thousands of anti-nuclear activists thronged to the streets in Chennai on Monday in an attempt to lay siege to the state assembly as mark of protest against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Protest against the power plant has only intensified over the past year, while nuclear fuel has already been loaded in the plant that is awaiting approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for commissioning.
Activists from various political groups and anti-nuclear bodies shouted slogans against the federal and state government, urging them to shutdown the plant permanently.
“Throughout Tamil Nadu, the state government has arrested hundreds and thousands of people to prevent them to come to Chennai to stage this programme. Inspite of that thousands of people have gathered here. We want that the Kudankulam nuclear plant should be closed, once and for all.
“The 144 applied in the area the surrounding places should be lifted. All the false cases forged against the people who are protesting against Kudankulam nuclear plant should be taken back and all those who are arrested should be released,” said a protester.
The Kudankulam plant will provide 2 gigawatts of electricity-enough to power millions of Indian homes and relieve a power crisis in Tamil Nadu. More nuclear plants are planned.
The Kudankulam power plant is the first nuclear project to near completion after the Fukushima disaster.
Unable to rely on a coal sector crippled by supply shortages and mired in scandals, India is pushing ahead with constructing nuclear reactors despite global jitters over safety.
Hundreds of millions of Indians still live without power and factories suffer frequent blackouts – an embarrassment to India’s aspirations as an emerging economic powerhouse.
The plant was first agreed in 1988, in the twilight years of the Soviet Union, in a deal between then-President Mikhail Gorbachev and India’s prime minister of the day, Rajiv Gandhi. (ANI)