Police shot dead a fisherman during a mass protest against the loading of uranium at a nuclear power plant in southern India on Monday, officials and reports said.
Steel-helmeted officers ringed one of two 1000-megawatt nuclear reactors in Tamil Nadu state’s Koodankulam region as hundreds of activists tried to lay a siege of the Russia-backed project, television footage showed.
The protests then spread and a 48-year-old fisherman was killed when police opened fire at activists staging another rally in the nearby Tuticorin district, according to a report by the Press Trust of India.
“A number of people including police personnel have received injuries in the clashes,” another officer told AFP while TV footage showed anti-riot personnel chase some of the activists, including women, into the nearby sea.
Monday’s violence comes six months after a lull in protests at the plant, which campaigners say could endanger the lives of locals in the case of a nuclear disaster.
The Press Trust of India said the new protests were in opposition to the loading of enriched uranium in the plant’s reactor.
The Koodankulam plant is one of many India hopes to build as part of its ambitions to produce 63 000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2032 – a nearly 14-fold increase from current levels.