A dream come true after 12-year struggle

A dream come true after 12-year struggle

The commencing of commercial operation of KNPP Unit I came nearly 12 years after the work on building the plant started.

Since 2012, the KKNP had faced several hitches, including delayed construction, problems with equipment besides opposition from the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE).

The Unit was initially scheduled to be completed in December 2008 for commercial operations, but was delayed due to late arrival of equipment from Russia. Though the construction and the installation of required machinery was partially completed in 2011, the agitation against the plant has been intensified.

When the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) came to power in Tamil Nadu in 2011, representatives of PMANE met the then chief minister J Jayalalitha in 2012 and urged her to press the Centre for stalling the project. Bowing to pressure from the protesters, the Tamil Nadu government had passed a resolution asking the central government to halt work on the plant till it allayed the fears of the people. The State government also constituted a four-member expert committee in 2012, headed by former chairman Atomic Energy Commission M R Srinivasan, to look into the safety aspects of the KNPP and allay the fears of the locals.

Though the expert committee immediately gave a clean chit that the plant was safe, the agitators moved the High Court, which dismissed their petition to stop the project.

Subsequently, PMANE’s bid to move the Supreme Court failed in 2014. Even Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal expressed solidarity with the Kudankulam protests.

Meanwhile, Kudankulam unit officials also struggled a long way to bring the unit to commercial operation since 2011 soon after the site construction was over. According to sources, there was also problem in loading dummy fuel during the power production. In addition, the arrival of local equipment were also delayed from September 2011 to March 2012.