An uneasy calm prevailed around Kudankulam yesterday as anti-nuclear protesters prepared for a showdown with authorities, in protest against fuel loading at the controversial nuclear plant.
In defiance of prohibitory orders, the protesters attempted to lay siege to the plant, ignoring repeated appeals by authorities to disperse, insisting they would stay put 500 metres from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project site. Police said they would take action as required under the situation.
Over 1,000 anti-nuclear protesters led by People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy convener S P Udayakumar tried to force their way towards the plant but were prevented from proceeding by Rapid Action Force personnel and police, half a kilometre from the site, police said.
According to officials, district collector R Selvaraj and sub-collector Rohini Ramdoss and district superintendent of police V Bidari held talks with the protesters to persuade them to disperse.
The area has been placed under security blanket with over 2,000 police personnel, including 400 RAF personnel, deployed at the site to prevent any untoward incident.
Prohibitory orders have been clamped around a 7 km radius from the plant as the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has given a call which is seen as a last ditch attempt to prevent the plant's commissioning.
Regulatory authorities had recently given the go-ahead for the loading of enriched uranium in the plant, whose commissioning had also received the nod of the Madras High Court.
The first KNPP unit, an Indo-Russian joint venture, was scheduled for commissioning in December last, it was however, bogged down by the delay due to protests.