Kudankulam row: PM to form experts panel

Written by fe Bureau | Chennai | Updated: Oct 8 2011, 10:26am hrs
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured an all-party delegation from Tamil Nadu that all safety concerns would be attended to with regard to the Kudankulam nuclear power project. The prime minister, who received the state delegation led by finance minister O Pannerselvam which presented a memorandum to him, said the Centre would constitute a small group of experts to interact with the representatives of the people of the region to satisfy their legitimate concerns. This exercise would suitably involve the state government.

The PM conveyed to the delegation that the Centre attaches the highest importance to ensuring that the use of nuclear energy in the country meets the highest safety standards and the government fully shares the concerns of the people of the area and will take all steps to allay their fears.

The government will not compromise on safety in the pursuit of our nuclear energy programme, be it is in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness

"Nothing will be done that would threaten the safety or livelihood of any section of society, particularly those living in the vicinity of a project," he told the delegation. It was agreed during the meeting that since the issues raised were technical in nature and required in-depth discussion, Earlier in the day, Singh wrote a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa which assured that nothing would be done that would threaten the safety of the people of Tamil Nadu.

"I would like to assure you that the Government of India attaches the highest importance to ensuring that the use of nuclear energy in India meets the highest safety standards. We will not compromise on safety in the pursuit of our nuclear energy programme, whether it is in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness. Nothing will be done that would threaten the safety or livelihood of our people", the letter said.

There have been understandable concerns expressed about nuclear safety after the tragic accident at Fukushima in Japan in March this year. The Central government is fully alive to these concerns and has sought, through its concerned Departments, to actively reach out to local populations at different nuclear power sites and to other sections of society to ally such fears.