Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, Oct 8 (IBNS): The first unit of the Kudankulam nuclear plant has been fully loaded with the requisite enriched uranium, media reports said Monday, even as locals continued to protest against the facility, launching yet another siege around it.
The 1000 MW reactor made with Russian assistance takes in about 70 tons of fuel and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) now expects to initiate the controlled nuclear fission chain reaction that will eventually help generate electricity.
The development comes even as villagers, including fishermen, in thousands on Monday began yet another siege around the Kudankulam nuclear plant to demand scrapping of the plant´s present technology and withdrawal of cases against the people protesting the same.
People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) leader S. P. Udayakumar said they are holding a siege protest around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) on the sea demanding withdrawal of the police from all villages; release of their comrades who are in prison; withdrawal of all the false cases against them; and scrapping of the project and and converting it into a people/nature/future-friendly project.
The villagers and fishermen organized the protest 500 meters away from the KKNPP by laying buoys and placing their own fiber boats.
"Ours is a peaceful, nonviolent and democratic protest just like all our earlier programs over the past 415 days," said Udayakumar.
"We will not engage in any kind of violence against any individuals or private or public properties as we do not treat anyone as our enemy. We have always stuck to this principle and treated the government officials and police officers with respect," he said.
On Sept 22, about 60 km away from ground zero at Tuticorin, fishermen and villagers had first laid a siege to the port to demand halt in fuel loading in the plant.
The protest against India´s largest nuclear power project at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu reached a flash point in recent months as the police and protesters clashed near the plant since Sept 10 while one person died in police firing in a neighbouring district.
The villagers and fishermen led by PMANE are protesting the plant fearing that it might cause a nuclear catastrophe like Japan´s Fukushima after an earthquake.