Even as the protest against the commissioning of the nuclear power project at Koodankulam was revived by the local people on Tuesday,the plant is set to have a new chief,a senior engineer who grew up in the same district.
R S Sundar,presently the station director of units I and II of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project,was promoted as the site director of the project,subsequent to the promotion of present director M Kasinath Balaji as the Executive Director (light water reactor operations).
Sundar hails from Thirunelveli district where the plant is situated and did his early studies in the educational institutions in the vicinity. In 1980,he completed his mechanical engineering from Coimbatore Institute and joined Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
After over two decades of service at Tarapur Atomic Power Station,Sundar was transferred to Koodankulam at a time when the plant was at the teething stage. He has been associated with the project right from the beginning. Sources said he would take charge soon.
Sundar said the biggest challenge before him was to commission the plant and prove that it was a safe mode of power generation. The protests by a section of the locals is like a misunderstanding in a family. We want to take them along with us,have a harmonious relationship with all in the neighbourhood, he said,pointing out that many villages had given unconditional support.
When the protests were raging,Sundar,as the chairman of Public Awareness Committee,was one of the senior staff who reached out to the public to try and make them understand the safety features of plant.
He had also come up with audio and video jingles that sought to clear the misgivings over radiation and cancer and concerns among fishermen about their livelihood.