India Opens Largest Nuclear Plant on Tsunami-Exposed Coast, Defying Mass Protests

Despite years of opposition and protest from local residents, India opened its largest nuclear power plant on Tuesday in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu on a stretch of coast slammed by a 2004 tsunami.

The joint Indo-Russian Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant opened at the tail-end of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Russia. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., which, according to Bloomberg, is the country’s only atomic energy producer, started up part of one of its reactors worth $2.84 billion on Tuesday.

The opening moved forward despite a thousands-strong protest over the weekend in which over 200 people were arrested.

The plant, which was planned in 1988 and started undergoing construction in 1997, has faced a series of delays due to protests from local communities concerned that it will ruin the Bay of Bengal ecosystem and devastate the local fishing economy, AsiaNews reports.

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