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Six people, including two children and a woman, have died in a blast near a nuclear power plant in India’s Tamil Nadu state, police say.
Three others were injured when a home-made bomb accidentally exploded in the coastal village of Idinthakarai, the epicentre of anti-nuclear protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project built with Russian technology.
Police sources say the explosion, which took place on Tuesday at 19:00 p.m. local time, completely destroyed two adjacent houses and led to chaos in the congested village.
The death toll could rise as people may still be trapped under debris at the blast site.
“Some anti-nuclear activists were living in this village. This house was being used as a bomb-making facility. We are investigating from all angles,” said Police Superintendent Vijayendra Bidari.
An official from India’s Atomic Energy Commission told the PTI news agency that the nuclear plant “is running fine and is safe.”
One of the three people injured on Tuesday has been identified by police as an anti-nuclear activist.
The Russian-built plant opened in October after delays and violent protests by locals fearing a radiation leak.
Minister of State in the Indian Prime Minister’s Office, V Narayanaswamy, said in July that delays in starting operations at the plant had resulted in a loss of over Rs 2000 crore ($350 million) for India.
The coastal village is four km (2.4 miles) from the nuclear power plant.