Birds, including rare gray pelicans, started nesting in the area surrounding the main subject of the Russian-Indian cooperation in the field of nuclear energy – the “Kudankulam” nuclear power plant (NPP) located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Locals say that before the construction of the NPP, no birds had been found around here. “Before the power plant started to be built, soil in this area had been cracked, with vegetation mainly represented by cacti and thorny bushes. The landscape had been enlivened by huge termite mounds. Birds had hardly lived here”, – he noted. The matter is that the construction of the “Kudankulam” NPP had been preceded by the works related to greening the nuclear plant’s territory as well as the surrounding area. The Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gave clearance for the start-up of the “Kudankulam” NPP. “As a result, rains returned, trees grew up and birds started nesting in the area”, – he added.
Anu Vijay Township of the “Kudankulam” NPP was founded in 2001, on the sea shore, eight kilometres to the west of the plant. The territory of the township is crossed by the bed of the seasonal rivulet called Uppar. Following the development of the river’s bank as well as its realignment, a lengthy pond was created within the area of the township. The pond is nearly two kilometres long and twenty meters wide. Before the development of the river banks, traditional local inhabitants, such as sandpipers, white and gray herons and painted storks, could be occasionally seen in its small delta filled with salted water. As early as in 2007-2008, up to one hundred of different bird species could be found in the township. The colony of gray pelicans grew fast enough. In 2006, only six birds lived in the area, whereas today there are more than 40 birds nesting here. According to various sources, the total number of gray pelicans in the world ranges between five and twenty thousand birds. Gray pelican chicks.
Russian nuclear experts have repeatedly pointed out that the “Kudankulam” NPP project gives special attention to preservation of biological diversity and richness of the adjoining Gulf of Mannar aquatorium. Thus, cooled sea water intake of the plant is equipped with special fish protection devices preserving fish as well as plankton, the nutritional base of the fish. The construction of the “Kudankulam” NPP is carried out with technical assistance of Russia, in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement of 1988 and the Annex to it dated 1998.”Russia and India: New horizons of strategic partnership in the ??I century. Russian and Indian experts have almost agreed upon the project for the construction of the plant’s second stage. The parties are willing to continue cooperation in this area: there are arrangements made regarding the construction of 16 Russian-designed power units in India. Previously, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has given permission to commission the first power unit of the “Kudankulam” NPP. Currently, preparatory works are being performed over there.