Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Sunday visited the Kudankulam
Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu
and said the plant was totally safe and a "boon to the people".
The government also sought to remove apprehensions about the
plant's safety in the face of agitation by villagers from
neighbouring areas with Minister of State in the Prime Minister's
Office V. Narayansamy asserting that the plant was among safest in
the country and there was no need to worry.
Kalam told reporters at the site that the third generation nuclear
reactor is totally safe and is a boon to the people.
"The nuclear plant is built at a correct height and there is no
threat of tsunami (damage to it)," he added.
He said electricity is necessary for India's economic growth.
Kalam also said his visit to the plant was "purely as a
technologist and scientist and not to mediate with the protesters,
and to verify the safety features incorporated in the nuclear
power plant located on the Indian coast".
He viewed the safety features of the two Russian reactors being
set up in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.
Kalam also met a group that wants the plant to start generating
"He is fully satisfied with the active and passive safety features
of the nuclear reactors in Kudankulam. The passive safety system
is working very well. The reactor heat removal system is the most
modern in the world," Kalam's adviser V. Ponraj told IANS on
He said Kalam was satisfied with the core catcher safety feature,
whereby in the event of an accident, the reactor core will be
"The fears of people are unfounded as everything at the plant is
perfect," Ponraj said.
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) chairman and
managing director S.K. Jain accompanied the former president
during his visit.
Meanwhile, Narayanasamy said Kudankulam project was one of the
saftest in the country.
"In fact, all the features of safety measures have been taken care
of. We have got four-layered safety measures," Narayanasamy told
He said Kudankulam was a place which can even withstand the effect
of a tsunami.
He said the nuclear reactor has to be kept in cool position
whatever the circumstances.
"All the safety positions for the purpose of keeping the plant in
a cool position have been maintained. Therefore, no need to worry
as far as safety is concerned. This is our scientists view, my
view, this is our government's view," Narayanasamy said.
NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian
technology and equipment in Kudankulam.
The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The
project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore (over $2.5
However, villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any
nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the
Their agitation has put a stop to the project work thereby
delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.