Madras HC seeks details of Kudankulam power project

The Madras High Court Tuesday ordered the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to file a fresh consent order for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) Thursday.

The court also ordered Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to file an affidavit Thursday detailing the implementation of the recommendations made by a task force set up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

The court was hearing two petitions filed by G. Sundarrajan against KNPP challenging the consent given by TNPCB and AERB to NPCIL.

NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunvelveli district around 650 km from here.

“TNPCB submitted to the court that it would withdraw its consent order issued to KNPP. TNPCB submitted that a fresh consent order would be issued. The court also asked AERB to file an affidavit listing out the implementation of the safety measures recommended by a task force set up by NPCIL,” M. Radhakrishnan, the counsel representing G. Sundarrajan the petitioner, said.

The atomic energy regulator Aug 10 gave its nod to NPCIL to load the fuel in the first reactor.

According to the petition, AERB had earlier submitted to the court in another case that it would issue clearances only after completion of review and resolution of reactor commissioning reports and issues relating to the KNPP, including the implementation of safety measures.

Sundarrajan contends that NPCIL has not implemented the entire 23 safety measures recommended by the task force.

In his petition, Sundarrajan contends that the AERB has not applied its mind on the consent order issued by the TNPCB on the tolerance temperature limits for the KNPP effluent before giving its clearance for loading of the fuel in the plant’s first unit.

According to him, the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, states that thermal power plants using sea water should adopt systems to reduce water temperature at the final discharge point so that the resultant rise in the temperature from receiving water does not exceed seven degrees Celsius over the ambient temperature.

The TNPCB, in its consent order, allows the tolerance temperature limit of trade effluent of the KNPP at 45 degrees Celsius while the Comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment for the KNPP units 1 and 2 and additional units 3 to 6 has limited the tolerance temperature to 37 degree Celsius.

A central government-appointed expert committee in its report last December said that the seasonal variation in surface water temperature of Kudankulam Marine Environment ranged from 23 degrees Celsius during monsoon and winter to 29 degrees Celsius during summer, with an annual average of 26.6 degrees Celsius.

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