Tamil Nadu sets up expert committee on Kudankulam

The Tamil Nadu government Thursday announced  a four-member expert committee to look into the safety aspects of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) and the fears of locals about the project.

In a statement here, the government said under the orders of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa an expert committee would be set up. It would comprise of M.R. Srinivasan, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), two professors from Anna University D. Arivu Oli and S. Iniyan, and L.N. Vijayaraghavan, retired IAS officer.

While no time frame has been fixed for the committee to submit its report, the government referred to Jayalalithaa’s statement in the assembly Feb 4 that an expert committee would be set up to study the safety aspects of the KNPP and the fears of local people, and submit its report at the earliest.

India's nuclear power plant operator, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.

Villagers of Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and others fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident. Their agitation, led by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), had put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit slated last December.

The Tamil Nadu government passed a resolution asking the central government to halt work at the power plant and allay the fears of the local people. To resolve the issue, the central and state governments had set up two panels.

The central and the state panels met thrice last year on Nov 8, 18 and Dec 15.
Speaking to IANS, M.R. Srinivasan said: “We will first study the reports of the central panel and the questions raised by the agitators. Then we will chalk the way ahead.”

He said the committee would apply its mind to resolve the impasse at the earliest.

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