Kalam to inspect nuke reactors

Coimbatore: In a significant development in the backdrop of anti-nuclear activists intensifying their stir against the Koodankulam plant, former President A P J Abdul Kalam today said he would visit all nuclear reactors across coastal belts to hold discussions with scientists.

“I will visit all these reactors across coastal belts and personally hold discussions with the scientists about all aspects. It will take at least 10 days to visit and gather all information, after which a report will be made,” he told reporters at Nandankarai, about 25 km from here. He, however, did not elaborate.

Kalam was replying to a question on the ongoing protest by people at Idinthakarai village against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power plant. The noted space scientist said nuclear power is clean energy and the nation can achieve energy independence by tapping it.

Anti-KNPP agitators had intensified their agitation since the past three days, preventing entry of workers and scientists into the complex by blocking the main gate. Last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised to set up an expert group to allay fears of locals over the plant, but made it clear that pursuit of nuclear energy would continue while giving full regard to safety aspects.

Noting that “legitimate” and “understandable” concerns are being expressed about nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident, he had said government was “fully alive” to it and sought to actively reach out to local populations at various nuclear power sites and other sections of society.