Chennai: 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
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.