Over 1,000 anti nuclear protesters made a vain bid to lay a siege at the controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, protesting against the proposed loading of fuel.

If the Central and the State governments are for the welfare of the people, they, like the developed nations that are closing down the nuclear power programmes in a phased manner, should have chosen to give up the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss has said.

Addressing the anti-KKNPP protestors at Idinthakarai on Monday evening, Dr. Ramadoss said the nation had never witnessed such an “intense but peaceful agitation” in any part of the country in the past.

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The Unit-1 of Kudankulam nuclear power project is at an advanced stage of commissioning. Permission for initial fuel loading and first approach to criticality was accorded by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board on August 10, said Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, V Narayanasamy.

After completion of fuel loading, being taken up now, in the reactor, activities to approach the first criticality (start of the fission chain reaction for the first time), a major milestone, would start after which full power operation of the unit would be achieved, the minister informed the Rajya Sabha.

AERB has failed to prepare a nuclear and radiation safety policy for the country, said CAG in this report tabled in the Parliament recently and recommended strengthening of licensing process for radiation facilities to bring all radiation facilities in the country under regulatory control of this board.

Petitions challenge TNPCB and AERB orders

The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered notice to the Central government on two new writ petitions against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) — one seeking to quash a Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB)’s order of July 23 prescribing the tolerance limit of the project’s trade effluent and the other seeking to declare the AERB’s clearance for Initial Fuel Loading (IFL) as null and void.

The Madras High Court on Thursday expressed displeasure over the “disregard” shown for it by the Centre, state governments and petitioners in the Koodankulam nuclear power project.

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The Kudankulam atomic power project is expected to be commissioned in September, capping months of delays due to non-availability of equipment and anti-nuclear protests.

India's nuclear regulator is inspecting the first 1,000 MW unit of the nearly Rs. 16,000 crore project, being developed with Russian collaboration, and is expected to give its report in the next few days.