CHENNAI: The biggest nuclear power unit in the country at Kudankulam was jointly dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday.
The Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project that runs on a Russian VVER-1000 plant is the first of the many that the two countries are building at the coastal hamlet in Tirunelveli district.
In their addresses telecast over video conference from their capitals, both Narendra Modi and Putin noted the big plans they have for expanding nuclear energy cooperation, including the next five 1,000 MWE units at Kudankulam complex.
Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, urged the leaders to hasten the commissioning of the second unit – it had achieved criticality last month.
The project, the leaders echoed, was yet another example of the strong and special strategic partnership both countries have been pursuing over the decades.
There was considerable opposition against the plant when the first unit reached the last stages of construction. This was the time when a wave of anti-nuclear protests swept many parts of the country, including Kudankulam, Jaitapur in Maharashtra and Gorakhpur in Haryana, among other places.
Recalling how her government addressed the fears of the villagers near the plant who rose in protest, Jayalalithaa said the opposition to nuclear energy could be dealt with engaging and reassuring the local population.