Activists brief Jayalalithaa on Kudankulam hazards (Lead)

February 29th, 2012 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 29 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Wednesday assured a delegation of anti-Kudankalam protesters that that she would study their report on the risks from the power plant and did not ask them to stop their stir, said an activist present at the meeting.

“Madam (Jayalalithaa) was very cordial and listened intently to our submissions. The meeting lasted around 20 minutes. She did not ask us to withdraw the agitation against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP),” R. Ramesh, part of the four-member People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) team that met the chief minister here, told IANS.

He said the team had submitted their expert committee report, rebutting the conclusions of the report submitted by the central government-appointed panel headed by A.E. Muthunayagam Jan 31.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, PMANE coordinator S.P. Udayakumar said: “She gave us a patient hearing. We told her that the state panel gave a one-sided report. We invited her to visit us.”

PMANE’s meeting with Jayalalithaa comes a day after the state government-appointed four-member experts panel also submitted its report, the contents of which are still under wraps. However, the panel has already said the KNPP reactors are safe.

Ramesh told IANS that the chief minister was briefed about the volcanic hazard in Kudankulam area and that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) did not look into the geological issues.

“We told madam that NPCIL did not do any volcanic hazard study. We told her that there is a possibility of Kudankulam terrain being a karst (collapsible soil hazard) terrain,” Ramesh said.

He said the areas around KNPP have experienced small volcanic eruptions in 1998, 1999, 2001 and in 2005 and the nearest eruption occurred just 26 km away from the project site.

According to him, Jayalalithaa was also told about the risk of the reactors facing dry intake due to tsunami risk - lack of sea water for desalination when the sea recedes.

The four-member PMANE panel requested Jayalalithaa to visit Kudankulam and Idinthakari villages.

According to the PMANE members, there was no indication from Jayalalithaa that the meeting was for the sake of formality.

“She heard us keenly as she heard us during our first meeting,” Coastal People’s Federation convener and PMANE leader M. Pushparayan told IANS.

Last September a larger PMANE team met Jayalalithaa and the state government later passed a resolution asking the central government to stop activities at the KNPP site till the fears of the villagers are allayed.

According to PMANE members, during their first meeting, there was a dialogue between the two sides, while in the latest meeting she just heard them out.

Meanwhile, DMK president M.Karunanidhi wondered at the silence of the state government on the project.

Speaking at a party function here, he said the government should explain to the people whether it stands for the project or not.

Had the project been commissioned on time, Tamil Nadu would have been free from power cuts, Karunanidhi added.

India’s nuclear power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, around 650 km from Chennai.

Villagers in Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby areas fear for their lives and safety in case of a nuclear accident.

Their agitation, led by PMANE, has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit, which was originally slated for last December.

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