No compromise on safety at N-plant: PM

No compromise on safety at N-plant: PM

New Delhi: With activists and locals intensifying their agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said all safety precautions will be taken while executing the project but also stressed on its importance for the state given its growing power needs.

“The government fully shares the concerns of the people of the area and will take all steps to allay their fears. The government will not compromise on safety in pursuit of our nuclear energy programme, be it is in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness," Singh said in a letter to Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.

The Prime Minister’s letter comes in the backdrop of continued protests by activists in Koodankulam to press their demands for scrapping the Indo-Russian project over safety concerns.

In his letter, Singh pointed out that he has already assured a delegation of activists, which met him last week, that a panel of experts would interact with them to address their concerns. “Nothing will be done that would threaten the safety or livelihood of any section of society, particularly those living in the vicinity of a project," Singh said.

Singh, who is a staunch supporter of nuclear power as an alternative energy source, also reminded the state chief minister that Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrialized states in the country, whose power requirements are growing constantly. Tamil Nadu will be allocated 925 megawatts electrical (MWe) power of the 2000 MWe power to be generated by Koodankulam nuclear power project units 1 and 2.

“In case the prospects of availability of this power are suddenly withdrawn, this would impact on the state’s development and industrialization plans," the Prime Minister said.

Singh said he has also directed department of atomic energy to maintain close liaison with the local people, the local authorities and the state government, and urged the chief minister to support the project.