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    » 10/22/2013, 00.00

    INDIA

    Tamil Nadu: controversial Kudankulam nuclear power plant begins operating



    The Indian-Russian plant starts up just as Indian Prime Minister Singh and Russian President Putin meet in Moscow summit. For years, the project suffered delays, especially because of protests by local residents fearful that pollution caused by discharges might contaminate the Bay of Bengal.

    Chennai (AsiaNews) - After years marked by delays due to technical problems and protests by the local population, the nuclear plant at Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu) began operating today. The result of an Indo-Russian project, the plant started up just as India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow to sign new agreements in the energy field.

    Although planned in 1988, the Kudankulam project started only in 1997. Since then, it has been long at the centre of protests that led to several delays.

    According to residents near the plant, the discharges from the reactors will kill fish and destroy the marine ecosystem in the Bay of Bengal, the main source of income for many small fishermen in the area.

    At the beginning of 2012, construction picked up steam. In September of the same year, in Idinthakari, the epicentre of peaceful protests, one of the many demonstrations turned into violent clashes with the police, culminating in the death of a man and a girl, as well as the desecration of a church.

    The local church has often been called to task by the authorities for stirring up demonstrations and receiving funds from foreign NGOs.

    Based on these claims, the government of Tamil Nadu froze for a long period the bank accounts of four groups, two of which are led by Mgr Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticurin.

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    See also

    13/02/2008 INDIA – RUSSIA
    Russia and India strike deal for four more nuclear reactors
    Economic, energy and military co-operation between the two former Soviet-era allies is up. For energy-thirsty India nuclear energy is essential.

    09/08/2012 INDIA
    Tuticurin bishop calls for a stop to nuclear plant that endangers people
    Mgr Yvon Ambroise criticises the Kudankulam station (Tamil Nadu) for its shortcomings and the government for its indifference. For about a year, 50,000 people are on a rotating fast demanding the plant be shut down. The Church backs them through its prayers. Growth and development are necessary but not at the cost of human lives.

    11/09/2012 INDIA
    Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned
    The victims are a fisherman of 44 and a 6 year-old girl. The man was killed by a shot fired by the police, the little girl was crushed. A priest denounces the "atrocities" committed by police: attacks on unarmed and non-violent protesters; statues of the Madonna destroyed and desecrated.

    15/03/2012 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu, new Church and fishermen protests against the Koodankulam nuclear plant
    The fishermen also want to unfreeze the bank accounts of the diocesan NGO run by Msgr. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticorin. The government stops all funds, accusing them of finance anti-nuclear demonstrations with foreign money. The bishop sends a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek to resolve the situation.

    21/03/2012 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu: 200 people arrested, including a priest, in anti-nuclear protest
    People peacefully demonstrate against the Kudankulam plant approved by the government. Jesuit priest says India needs nuclear plant. For him, it is crucial for "maintaining the energy security of India, reducing atmospheric pollution and gaining economic benefits". People must be educated on the matter.



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