SC poses searching queries to Centre on Kudankulam

The Supreme Court on Thursday wanted to know from the Centre as to what would be the guarantee that there would be no radio active substance in the spent fuel to be stored at the controversial Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu to prevent any accident.

Posing a host of searching queries to the Centre on the functional safety of the power plant, a bench of justices K S Radhakrishanan and Deepak Misra also asked if any environmental impact assessment was done on the project.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on next Thursday, saying that it would pass appropriate orders after examining the issue at length.

“It is not adversarial. We are concerned with the people’s rights and interests. It is in public interest. What will be the guarantee that there will be no radio active material in it?

“In 1984 there was the Bhopal gas tragedy. But the problem of waste is still there. If there is a problem, how to meet it?” the bench asked Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman and Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, who appeared for the Centre.

The bench was dealing with the petition filed by social activist G Sundarrajan challenging the Madras high court’s decision not to impose any restraint against the plant, despite the alleged non-compliance of several safety measures recommended by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

Appearing for the petitioner, counsel Prashant Bhushan told the bench that not only 11 out of the 17 recommendations made by the AERB were violated by the government but even minimum statutory norms like environmental assessment impact and disaster management study and measures have been overlooked for loading the fuel in the plant.

“Was any environmental impact assessment done?” the bench asked the Centre to which Parasarn nodded in the affirmative.

(Source : PTI)

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.

Anti-nuclear activists to continue protests at Kudankulam

Anti-nuclear activists have claimed that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s (AERB) clearance to load enriched uranium fuel in the first 1,000 MW reactor at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is a violation of the atomic regulator’s commitment to the court.

Referring to the batch of petitions filed in the Madras High Court against the project, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) in a statement Saturday said: “The AERB has given assurance to the Madras High Court that the post-Fukushima taskforce’s recommendations would be fully implemented in all the nuclear installations in India and that no fuel loading decision at the KNPP would be taken until then.”

“The current permission to load fuel at KNPP is a gross violation of that commitment made at the court and the sentiments of the struggling people,” PMANE added.

The petitions have been filed challenging the legality and appropriateness of the environmental clearance given to KNPP.

“The struggling people will do whatever democratically possible to oppose the authoritarian and illegal decision of the Indian nuclear establishment,” PMANE said.

According to PMANE, the police force in and around Kudankulam has been increased after the AERB’s nod to load fuel.

“The ruling AIADMK that takes up Tamil people’s issues and causes with the central government is letting us down with this most important issue that will have disastrous impact on our natural resources, our people’s health and livelihood and the well-being of our future generations,” the statement said.

According to PMANE, Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa must decide if this is the “deadly and shameful legacy that she wants to leave with the people of Tamil Nadu”.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two reactors of 1,000 MW each with Russian technology at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here.