On Wednesday the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has been asked by The Supreme Court asked to tell how it was reprocessing and storing unusable spent radioactive fuel of nuclear power plants?
the apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra said to Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, who appeared for the NPCIL that, “File a specific affidavit how the spent fuel, after it becomes waste, is stored, its safety and impact on environment,”
The court asked to Nariman how that part of the spent fuel that could be reprocessed for reuse was transported to two reprocessing centres in the country and how the remaining non-reusable material was stored.
The court was hearing a petition filed by information technology professional G. Sundarrajan from Tamil Nadu, seeking to restrain the government from going ahead with operationalising Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the state.
The court also wanted to know how the spent fuel that could be reprocessed was transported to the two centres in the country and the safety of the stored spent fuel.
The court query came as Nariman told the court that “India has achieved self-reliance in the management of all radioactive waste. Management (of nuclear waste) is at par with international standards”.
He also said that, “In the handling of the nuclear waste we have not gone wrong in respect of 20 nuclear power plants already in operation in the country,”
He said. “Tarapore (nuclear plant in Maharashtra) was commissioned in 1960 and in last 50 years everything is working safely and the same thing would be done in the handling of spent fuel waste in case of Kudankulam project,”
The solicitor general said that there was no political pressure on the nuclear power corporation and the atomic energy regulator to commission the Kudankulam project without complying with safety requirements.
He referred to the report of the expert group saying that Kudankulam project “is designed and engineered… in line with the current international safety requirements and principles”.
The project was designed to withstand a terror attack and the impact of an air crash.
The Tamil Nadu government had set up the 15-member expert group to give opinion on the safety of Kudankulam project and the impact of its operation on the surroundings.
Nariman told the court that former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam visted the Kudankulam project site and and also told that there was absolutely “no possibility of any danger”.