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PM sends emissary to Koodankulam nuclear site

Sep 20, 2011 11:04 PM IST India India

New Delhi: The fast in Koodankulam protesting the building of new nuclear reactors in the area entered its tenth day on Tuesday. The Prime Minister sent an emissary hoping to keep the peace.

Whether at Jaitapur in Maharashtra not long ago, or Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu now, public anger against nuclear power plants are getting bigger and louder. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has done an about turn on the project she backed until recently.

Social activist Medha Patkar also said, "We visited the Koondamkulam Nuclear site. More than 100 people were on fast there but Jayalalithaa did not send any emissaries of the government there, she sent two representatives to Modi's fast in Ahmedabad. But it is heartening that Jayalalithaa has written to the Prime Minister to stop work."

Manmohan Singh's emissary V Narayanswamy is now in Koodankulam.

"After meeting the Chief Secretary and representatives of the agitating people, we are going to ensure that safety measures are maintained on international standards. We will meet the Chief Minister on Wednesday," Narayanswamy said.

The Russians who have supplied the Koodankulam reactors are worried. They say comparisons with the Fukushima disaster are unwarranted.

Russian embassy Counsellor Sergei Karmalito said, "I think this is not correct, because as you may know, the Fukushima (Japan) plant was constructed decades ago and what we have now in Koodankulam is a modern plant which incorporates several, several layers of sophisticated safety features."

The Russians have indicated that they are no longer keen on another site in Haripur in West Bengal and India is seeking fresh certification from the French company Areva of its European Pressurised Reactor design, which is proposed to come up in Jaitapur.