Bloomberg News

India Says Work at Russia-Built Nuclear Plant Remains Stalled

January 09, 2012

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Nuclear Power Corp. of India said work at its plant at Kudankulam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, being built with Russia’s help, remains at a standstill following continuing protests by villagers near the site.

“No work’s happening now,” S.A. Bhardwaj, director of technical services, said in New Delhi today. “Once the agitations are over, it’ll take us about two months to get contract workers back at the site. We can start generating power about four months after that.”

The first of two 1,000-megawatt reactors at Kudankulam, which state-owned Rosatom Corp. is helping to build, will start in a couple of weeks, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Moscow Dec. 16, after meeting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The plant near the southern tip of India is part of 60,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity planned by Singh to battle a shortage of power in Asia’s second-fastest growing major economy. Residents of nearby villages intensified their protest in August, five months after an earthquake in Japan triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

The protesters have asked the government to shut the plant, demanding that more be done to ensure the safety, livelihood and security of the people.

“We’re trying our best to explain to the people that this plant is safe,” Bhardwaj said. “Various rounds of discussions have taken place between the protesters and a team of experts. They have genuine fears and it’s up to us to answer their questions.”

The start of the first unit of the plant has been delayed to May from December and the second is scheduled to begin in February 2013, according to Nuclear Power Corp.’s website.

--Editors: John Chacko, Baldave Singh

To contact the reporter on this story: Rakteem Katakey in New Delhi at rkatakey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net


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