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Kalam visits Kudankulam plant, says its safe

Sunday November 06, 2011 09:23:43 PM, IANS

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Chennai: Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Sunday visited the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu and said the plant was totally safe and a "boon to the people".

The government also sought to remove apprehensions about the plant's safety in the face of agitation by villagers from neighbouring areas with Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayansamy asserting that the plant was among safest in the country and there was no need to worry.

Kalam told reporters at the site that the third generation nuclear reactor is totally safe and is a boon to the people.

"The nuclear plant is built at a correct height and there is no threat of tsunami (damage to it)," he added.

He said electricity is necessary for India's economic growth.

Kalam also said his visit to the plant was "purely as a technologist and scientist and not to mediate with the protesters, and to verify the safety features incorporated in the nuclear power plant located on the Indian coast".

He viewed the safety features of the two Russian reactors being set up in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.

Kalam also met a group that wants the plant to start generating power.

"He is fully satisfied with the active and passive safety features of the nuclear reactors in Kudankulam. The passive safety system is working very well. The reactor heat removal system is the most modern in the world," Kalam's adviser V. Ponraj told IANS on phone.

He said Kalam was satisfied with the core catcher safety feature, whereby in the event of an accident, the reactor core will be contained.

"The fears of people are unfounded as everything at the plant is perfect," Ponraj said.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) chairman and managing director S.K. Jain accompanied the former president during his visit.

Meanwhile, Narayanasamy said Kudankulam project was one of the saftest in the country.

"In fact, all the features of safety measures have been taken care of. We have got four-layered safety measures," Narayanasamy told reporters.

He said Kudankulam was a place which can even withstand the effect of a tsunami.

He said the nuclear reactor has to be kept in cool position whatever the circumstances.

"All the safety positions for the purpose of keeping the plant in a cool position have been maintained. Therefore, no need to worry as far as safety is concerned. This is our scientists view, my view, this is our government's view," Narayanasamy said.

NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam.

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).

However, 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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