Chennai: Activists continued to protest outside Tamil Nadu's Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) on Friday, preventing employees of the plant from going inside to work. For the past six days, 106 people have been on fast demanding scrapping of the nuclear power project. The relay fast is being held at Idinthakarai village near Kudankulam in the district, around 650 km from here.

Villagers have surrounded all the entry points to KNPP.

Around 25 employees, forming part of essential services group, were escorted by police to the plant at 5 a.m., a senior official on condition of anonymity said.

Around 1,000 contract workers are working at the site.

“The condition is tense. So please wait for other employees to be escorted,” a police officer said.

KNPP officials said that plant maintenance was being taken care of by skeletal staff. On an average, around 1,000 people work per shift.

Giving a boost to the Kudankulam protesters, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had said on Thursday: “I am one amongst you. The Tamil Nadu government will act in a way that respects the local people's feelings.”

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW capacity nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam. The first unit is expected to go on stream in December.

The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs.11,500 crore.

The activists are angry with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for telling Jayalalithaa that the state's industrialisation would be impacted by the non-availability of electricity if the 2,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear power project was scrapped.

(Agencies)