Kudankulam fishing industry fear business will suffer due to nuke plant

Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu), July 17 (ANI): The fishing industry in the Kudankulam area of Tamil Nadu fears that the nuclear power plant would affect their business, both in the short and long term.

For the last few months, Kudankulam has been the epicentre of a wave of heated protests, with environmental activists and agitators voicing their ire at what they say is the government's apathy towards the dangers posed by the plant.

Local residents in nearby villages fear that the waste from the nuclear plant would kill marine life and affect the livelihood of the fishing community.

"The government claims that the plant is very safe but when the sea water is used for the cooling purpose of the plant and the same is let into the sea, the harmful radiations will definitely mix with it and will affect the fish wealth," said P. Sundari, a resident of the area.

The Kudankulam plant will provide two gigawatts of electricity-enough to power millions of Indian homes and relieve a power crisis in Tamil Nadu. More nuclear plants are planned.

The government's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board in August 2012 gave clearance for fuel to be loaded into one of the Kudankulam plant's two reactors, one of the last steps before it can begin producing power.

"Fishing is our livelihood, and, if this nuclear plant comes into effect, its harmful radiation will destroy the fishes in the sea. It will also result in radiation related diseases. Birth of abnormal child is certain and therefore we are against the plant," said Penci, a local girl.

First conceived in 1988, Russian-built Kudankulam was supposed to have gone into operation last year, but protesters surrounded the compound after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011, causing radiation leaks and forcing mass evacuations.

The protesters feared a similar accident could happen in southern India, a region that was hard hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

India plans to add 63 gigawatts of nuclear power by building 30 reactors by 2032.

But the country aims to increase power capacity over the next five years mainly through coal, which already accounts for 60 percent of India's energy generation. Environmental concerns and mismanagement have slowed growth there as well.

There have also been protests in coalfields in other parts of the country, while hydropower projects in the Himalayas have faced opposition from local tribes. (ANI)

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