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Kudankulam row: Expert panels to meet Tuesday

The expert committees appointed by the central and Tamil Nadu governments to allay fears of locals about the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu will meet Tuesday to discuss the ways of carrying out their mandate, an official said.

‘The members of the two committees will be meeting for the first time. The central government has formed a 15-member committee and the Tamil Nadu government has formed a six-member committee,’ S.A. Bhardwaj, director (technical) of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), told.

Fourteen members of the central government’s panel met here Monday and discussed the points raised by the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) agitators.

‘Today we discussed the way in which technical aspects could be simplified so that a layman could understand,’ a member of the committee told on condition of anonymity.

S. Sivasubramanian, coordinator of the People’s Rights Movement, an organisation fighting for the plant’s closure, told: ‘Our two representatives on the state government formed committee will participate in tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting.

Queried about former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s 10-point programme for the development of Kudankulam and neighbouring areas, he said: ‘Perhaps laying of four lane road would enable faster evacuation of people in case of a nuclear disaster.’

Referring to Kalam’s statement that country is bigger than individuals, Subramanian said: ‘A community cannot be sacrificed for the economic development of a nation.’

Kalam visited KNPP Sunday and gave a clean chit to the project, saying it was a modern and safe plant.

NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam, around 650 km from here.

The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore (over $2.5 billion).

Villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population.

Their agitation has put a stop to the project work, thereby delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.

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