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Protests against Tamil Nadu nuclear plant mount; govt calls for talks

As the protest against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the district continued to gather momentum with over 20,000 people staging a relay fast today, the Tamil Nadu government invited representatives of the core group spearheading the stir for talks.

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As the protest against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the district continued to gather momentum with over 20,000 people staging a relay fast today, the Tamil Nadu government invited representatives of the core group spearheading the stir for talks.

District Collector R Selvaraj spoke to SP Udayakumar, Jayakumar and advocate Sivasubramanian, spearheading the protest, over phone and urged them to withdraw their five-day old indefinite fast and come for talks, an official release said.

They told the collector that they would consult the rest of the protestors and revert to him, it said.

The project undertaken in collaboration with Russia envisages building of two 1,000 MW VVER type reactors by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India in the coastal village of Koodankulam.

The protests have intensified in the last few weeks after the KNPP officials said the hot run (testing with dummy fuel) of the first reactor, has reached the final stage and commercial power production would begin in December.

On August 15, a meeting of the local village sabha at Idinthakarai, which falls in the two km radius of the KNPP, resolved that the plant should be shelved, citing safety concerns and recent Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

While 127 people under the banner Confederation against KNPP have been on the indefinite fast at Idinthakarai since September 10, thousands of residents of surrounding villages have been joining them in observing relay hunger strike.

For the fourth day today, fishermen of the area did not put out to sea for fishing while students continued to boycott schools.

Several political parties, the Federation of Traders Association and local social organisations have extended their support to the protest.

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