Mumbai: As anti-Kudankulam protests intensified, India's nuclear regulator on Thursday said it was yet to give final clearance for loading of enriched uranium fuel into the first 1000 MW atomic plant built with Russian collaboration.

"Fuel loading has not yet begun," S S Bajaj, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) told reporters at a briefing on safety measures at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).

Bajaj said a seven-member AERB team was carrying out last minute checks at the first 1000 MW unit of KNPP located at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

"As soon as those (checks) are completed we will get the report from the ground team. We will then review the report and only then give clearance for fuel loading," he said.

Bajaj said it was the responsibility of the plant operator -- Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) -- to meet all the regulatory parameters after which a go ahead can be given to load fuel in the plant.

"We do not know how much time it will take. It is the responsibility of the utility (NPCIL) and not AERB. We will only ensure whether safety measures have been met or not," he said.

Kudankulam and its adjoining villages are witnessing a fresh wave of protests led by anti-nuclear activists and the locals against commissioning of the atomic power plant.

Bajaj refused to be drawn into a debate on the timeframe commissioning of the plant and made it clear that it was the responsibility of the operator.

"Timeframe for commissioning of the plant are issues with the utility. Regulatory body will only give clearances when the safety measures are met. It can be done tomorrow or one year later. If we are satisfied we will clear it," he said.


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