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India

Six workers injured at Indian nuclear plant

Opposition activists blame manufacturing defects

ucanews.com reporter, Thiruvananthapuram

ucanews.com reporter, Thiruvananthapuram

Updated: May 14, 2014 10:33 PM GMT
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Six workers injured at Indian nuclear plant

File picture shows a nuclear power reactor for the Kudankulam plant, being assembled in Russia. (Picture: AFP Photo/Sergey Kulikov/Interpress)

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Anti-nuclear activists in southern India have vowed to intensify their protests against a Russian-backed nuclear power plant after six workers were injured in a "hot water spill".

Six workers suffered significant burns in the accident Wednesday in the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu state's Tirunelveli district.

Victoria Pushparayan, spokesman for the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, said protesters would spread out to every part of Tamil Nadu state in order to pressure the government to shut down the plant.

"We have decided to intensify our struggle and chalked out a plan to spread to three districts of the state -- Nagercoil, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi. People are agitated over the accident which proves that our fears about the nuclear plant are genuine," he told ucanews.com.

Some 10,000 protesters have massed in Idinthakarai village and plan to conduct marches and block roads in the three districts.

The village has been the epicenter of the ongoing struggle against the plant for more than three years.

Pushparayan, who alleged the accident was caused by an explosion, said authorities are not ready to share information about the power plant.

Along with two other movement members - SP Udayakumar and MP Jesuraj - Pushparyan ran in the recent general election under the newly formed Common Man's Party.

Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd officials denied the accident was the result of an explosion and insisted the incident was the result of "hot water spillage".

"There was no blast in Kudankulam plant as reported by a section of the media. While carrying out maintenance work on a valve in turbine building unit one, there was an incident of hot water spillage from the valve in which six workers were injured," RS Sunder, director of the Kudankulam nuclear power project, said in a statement.

But SP Udayakumar told ucanews.com that the blast was the result of manufacturing defects and substandard materials used for the construction of the plant.

On May 8, India's Supreme Court rejected a petition by protesters to set up a committee to monitor safety standards at the plant. "Wednesday's incident vindicates the protesters' stance," Udayakumar said.

Meanwhile, S Sunderrajan, a lawyer based in Chennai, filed another petition on Thursday with the Supreme Court asking it to review its May 8 ruling.

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