Protests delay Indian nuclear reactor development

Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. has delayed the start of commercial operations at two Russian-built nuclear reactors in the southern state of Tamil Nadu because of protests by local people, a senior executive at the state-run monopoly said.

“The protests are continuing and we are just able to do bare minimum maintenance work. There is no progress beyond that,” the executive said.

The executive said the start of the first 1000 MW unit in Kudankulam has been delayed until May from March, and the second unit of the same size to February 2013 from December 2012.

Local fishermen and some organizations are protesting against the Kudankulam project, citing safety concerns and the impact on their livelihoods. The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in March, following an earthquake and tsunami, has also increased worries globally about the future of nuclear energy.

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