“The apprehensions about public safety and environmental concerns have been allayed in view of the unanimous expert opinion.” said the apex court.
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu is safe and there is no basis to say that it will have adverse impact on the environment and people living near the site, the Supreme Court said bringing the protracted litigation on the project to an end and clearing the deck to make it operational.
A bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra said that nuclear plants are the need of the hour and they are required for sustained economic development of the country.
“Justification for establishing KKNPP at Kudankulam, therefore has been vindicated and all safety and security measures have already been taken, necessary permissions and clearances have been obtained from all statutory authorities,” according to the bench.
“Apprehension expressed by some sections of the public that if the units are commissioned or put into operation, it will have far reaching consequences, not only on the present generation, but also on the future generation, of the possible radioactive effects of the units, in our view has no basis,” according to it.
The apex court said that apprehension expressed by few people cannot be a ground for scrapping the project which is needed for larger welfare and public interest of people of this country.
“Apprehension, however, legitimate it may be, cannot override the justification of the project. Nobody on this earth can predict what would happen in future and to a larger extent we have to leave it to the destiny. But once the justification test is satisfied, the apprehension test is bound to fail,” the bench said.
The apex court said all expert bodies are unanimous in their opinion that KKNPP has fully satisfied all safety norms to safeguard the human life, property and environment which will allay the fears and apprehensions expressed by the people living in and around Kudankulam.
“For setting up the project, the project proponent has taken all safety requirements in site and off site and has followed the code of practices laid down by AERB, based on nationally and internationally recognized safety methods,” the bench said.
It said that nuclear energy is an important element in India’s energy mix for sustaining economic growth and the country can not remain as nuclear isolated state.
“Nuclear energy is, therefore, considered to be a viable source of energy and it is necessary to increase country’s economic growth. Nuclear energy is now considered in India as a sustainable source of energy and India cannot afford to be a nuclear isolated nation, when most of the developed countries consider it as a major source of energy for their economic growth,” according to the the bench.
The bench said that the nuclear plant is not going to negate the right to life of people living around the project but will achieve a larger public interest.
“Electricity is the heart and soul of modern life, a life meant not for the rich and famous alone but also for the poor and down trodden. They should also have an adequate means of livelihood, job opportunities for which we have to set up Industries and commercial,” it said.
“Public money running into crores and crores rupees has already been spent for the development, control and use of atomic energy for the welfare of the people and hence, we have to put up with such minor inconveniences, minor radiological detriments and minor environmental detriments in our lives because the benefits we reap from KKNPP are enormous since nuclear energy remains as an important element in India’s energy mix which can replace a significant part of fossil fuels like coal, gas oil etc,” according to it.