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Indian fishers, activist hold sea protest against nuclear power plant

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

CHENNAI, India—Indian fishermen and anti-nuclear activists on Saturday mounted a sea protest against an atomic power plant following violent demonstrations earlier this month, police said.

Some 3,000 fishermen and anti-nuclear activists in 500 fishing boats tried to block a port in Tamil Nadu to protest against the loading of uranium at the power plant in the southern Indian state's Koodankulam region.

Police said the industrial security force and Indian coast guard stopped the attempted blockade off Tuticorin town, some 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Russian-backed project.

Witnesses said the boat-borne protesters shouted anti-nuclear slogans and demanded that the government halt the loading of uranium at the power plant.

Tuticorin port spokesman V. Satyarajan described the protest as "peaceful".

"This is yet another form of agitation to express our protest and we will continue to protest until the nuclear plant is shut down," said Subash Fernando, one of the protest leaders.

Earlier this month, one fisherman was shot dead by police while hundreds of protesters clashed with armed officers in Koodankulam region.

Last week, India's Supreme Court denied a request to suspend the loading of uranium fuel rods at the nuclear plant.

Opponents of the plant say it poses a danger to local people.

The latest demonstrations have broken a six-month lull in protests against the power station.

The nuclear plant is one of many India hopes to build as part of its ambitions to produce 63,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2032 -- a nearly 14-fold increase from current levels.

India's existing 20 nuclear reactors currently generate just 4,780 megawatts.

Authorities say the first of the two units of the much-delayed Koodankulam project is ready for operation.

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