India

Hundreds arrested at India nuclear plant protest

In this Aug. 17, 2011 photo, villagers participate in a protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Koodankulam region, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Image caption There have been sizeable protests against the Koodankalam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu

About 500 people have been arrested at a protest against a nuclear power plant in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The leaders of several political parties were among those detained for attempting to protest near the Koodankulam nuclear plant, reports say.

The Tamil Nadu government gave the go-ahead on Monday for work at the unfinished plant to proceed.

Construction had been halted by protests from activists and locals worried about the plant's safety.

One of those arrested was Vaiko, leader of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), a Tamil nationalist political party, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Protests have been banned in the vicinity of the unfinished power plant.

The rally, initially staged outside the prohibition zone, demanded that the plant not be commissioned until people's safety fears had been addressed.

On Monday, the Tamil Nadu government said that it had finished studying experts' reports and judged the plant to be safe.

Construction has resumed to complete the two 1,000 MW reactors.

People living close to the site of the reactors have long been opposed to the joint Indo-Russian project, but businesses in Tamil Nadu, which suffers from power shortages, have welcomed it.

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