Chennai, Oct 8: Opposing the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), people belonging to various walks of life – fishermen, traders, activists, cadres of political parties – began a protest at the sea near the atomic power plant, around 500 metres from the Kudankulam shore Monday, an activist said.
“Around 1,000 fishermen’s boats from Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin with over 10,000 people were participating in the protest,” M. Pushparayan, one of the leaders of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), told IANS over phone.
He said a decision on whether the “siege at the sea” would continue would be taken by the evening.
Pushparayan said he does not expect protestors to turn violent. “The protest is in the sea, there is no question of violence. It will be a peaceful protest. We also do not expect much police presence in the sea,” he said.
However, around 3,000 policemen have been deployed in the Kudankulam area to prevent any untoward incidents.
This is the second time that a protest has been organised in the sea against the KNPP.
Last month, hundreds of fishermen blocked the approach channel to the Tuticorin port around 600 km from here. The fishermen dispersed in the afternoon and the operations of the port were largely unaffected.
India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW reactors with Russian help at Kudankulam since 2001.
For more than a year, PMANE has been leading the people’s protests against the KNPP.
Villagers under the PMANE banner have opposed the project fearing for their safety, especially since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan March 2011.
The NPCIL recently completed loading the first reactor with enriched uranium fuel bundles numbering 163. The process to close the reactor vessel is currently on.