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Hundreds of anti-nuclear protestors arrested in India

By Siddhartha Kumar –

NEW DELHI — Hundreds of demonstrators were detained in southern India on Monday as they tried to blockade a regional assembly in protest against a nuclear plant under construction, news reports and officials said.

Safety concerns have prompted local villagers and fishermen to stage protests over the past year against the Kudankulam power plant, which is being built with Russian assistance.

The campaign gained momentum after the Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima began leaking radiation after it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami last year. Kudankulam is located on the coast of the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

About 2,000 people including many members of regional political parties were stopped by police three miles from the state assembly in state capital Chennai, broadcaster NDTV reported.

Hundreds had been taken into custody to prevent the protest from turning violent, local police officials told the German news agency dpa, refusing to give a precise number. Many officers were deployed in the area.

The plant was originally to come on line in December but the date has been delayed by the protests.

The federal Department of Atomic Energy says the plant meets all international safety guidelines and the state authorities have appealed for an end to the protests.

India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board in August approved the loading of enriched uranium fuel bundles at the plant’s first unit.

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