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7 Nov, 2011, 04.

45AM IST, ET Bureau

APJ Abdul Kalam backs govt's effort to persuade Kudankulam protestors


NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam has endorsed the safety net put in place at the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu. Kalam's support will give a major boost to the Manmohan Singh government's efforts to persuade the protestors from the Tirunelveli-Kattabomman belt in Tamil Nadu to lift their blockade of the project. Kalam, a highly-respected name in the scientific community, arrived at the project site on Saturday night and inspected the safety measures . He held discussions with the scientists involved in putting up the . 13,000-crore plant, being built with Russian cooperation. "I am completely satisfied. I am happy to see such safety measures. I am happy that this reactor will be safe to all the people around the plant,'' Kalam told newspersons after undertaking a survey of the Indo-Russian joint venture, and added that the reactor was "safe and protected." The plant was situated 13.5 metres above sea level and 1,300 km from the seismic central point. "It is located in a low seismic zone," he said. The people of the Tirunelveli-Kattabommam area, backed by various church groups and foreign organisations, are resisting attempts to start power generation from the plant following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan in March this year. They have doggedly refused to call off their protests and have forced the Russian experts to leave work. Kalam, who has been a strong advocate of nuclear energy to reduce the country's power deficit, said his visit to KNPP was purely as a technologist and scientist. He said he had studied four safety aspects of the project and expressed his satisfaction. Observing that he had gone there to talk to scientists about the safety system, the former President said he will inform the people about its safety. Kalam's visit to the project site came two days after Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee and Nuclear Power Corporation of India chairman SK Jain had met Tamil Nadu chief secretary Debendranath Sarangi and discussed ways to allay the villagers' apprehensions