NEW DELHI, December 21 (RIA Novosti) – The protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant that is being built in the south of India with Russian technical assistance are financed by foreign NGOs, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said on Friday.
“They [protesters] are doing that with funds from abroad,” he said at a news conference ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to India.
He added that the Kudankulam’s Unit 1 “is practically ready for launch” and that Unit 2 will be ready in half a year.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in February that the protests were organized by NGOs funded from the US and Scandinavian countries.
India signed a contract to build the Kudankulam NPP with the USSR in 1988, but construction only started in 2002. In 2010, India and Russia agreed to build at least six power units. The project involves 1,000 MW reactors of the VVER-1000 model being constructed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a Rosatom subsidiary.
The construction of the first two units was halted in September 2011 over protests by local residents who demanded the scrapping of the Indo-Russian project, citing the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The protesters blocked all roads to the plant and would not allow the workers to enter.
The work resumed in March 2012. Indian authorities say that nuclear power is necessary to meet the country’s growing energy needs.