Kalam seeks PM intervention to end Koodankulam

Chennai: Amid the stand-off on the Koodankulam nuclear project, former President A P J Abdul Kalam has warned that delay in resolving the crisis would lead to "more anti-nuclear energy sentiments" and urged the Prime Minister to resolve the issue "politically and strategically at the earliest".

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Kalam, a strong advocate of nuclear energy, said it was essential to take up the issue with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to revive the operations of the KNPP with the "full support of the state government at the earliest". "I hope your immediate intervention will bring a win-win settlement at the earliest and enable operationalisation of KNPP at the earliest which is vital for Tamil Nadu and other states", he said.

To meet the present power crisis in Tamil Nadu, the Centre may also consider allotment of the full 1,000 MW power generated from KNPP Unit-I, which could be later adjusted towards Tamil Nadu`s share in KNPP Unit-II to the rest of the country, Kalam said in his letter.

The former President said despite the sound safety principles on which, KNPP has been established, there was continuing agitation in that area and the state government wanted more to be done to allay the local people`s fears. "I feel the more we delay in resolving the Koodankulam crisis, the more anti-nuclear energy sentiments in India will gain momentum. Hence, it is essential to resolve this issue politically and strategically at the earliest", he said.

Kalam, who had visited the site in November last and held detailed discussions with the scientists and engineers of KNPP on the safety aspects, had mooted a Rs 200 crore 10-point action plan for development of the area around Koodankulam and appealed to people not to have even a `nano sized doubt` over the plant`s safety. "May be two per cent to five per cent of the profit out of KNPP can be allotted for this purpose and the gap funding if needed may be provided by the Central government", Kalam said.

He also suggested a special economic package for Tamil Nadu for its integrated development from the unutilized fund allocated in the 11th plan.

V Ponraj, Advisor to Kalam, said the Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of Kalam on the need for nuclear energy. Singh also assured that the Centre would look into the suggestions made by Kalam and also work with the state government in reviving the KNPP "at the earliest with the support of the state government".

According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, the expected date of commercial operation of Unit-I to produce 1,000 MW has been fixed in May this year and Unit-II to produce another 1,000 MW in February 2013.

The Indo-Russian joint venture ran into trouble with anti-nuclear activists and local people going on protest citing safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima disaster early last year.